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Bud Norris reaches strikeout milestone, Adam Liberatore tweaks knee

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Dodgers got a strong start out of Bud Norris in Tuesday's win over the Rays, under unusual circumstances, and on a night he reached a personal milestone.

Norris threw a season-high 104 pitches in his 6⅓ innings, allowing no runs, with six strikeouts and two walks. It was reminiscent of his first start with the Dodgers, with six scoreless innings and eight strikeouts against Colorado on July 1.

In between, Norris allowed 14 runs, including five home runs, in 16⅓ innings. The difference between those starts and the bookend ones, including Tuesday?

"You gotta locate pitches," Norris said, laughing. "It's not easy."

All this on Tuesday came technically on three days rest for Norris, after throwing 23 pitches in 1⅓ innings of relief in extras in St. Louis on Friday, his throw day in between starts.

"We train our bodies. Sometimes your arm feels better than others," Norris said "I was glad just to help the team that night."

"Just seeing what he did for us in St. Louis, two days removed from throwing," said manager Dave Roberts. "Where he was at, he gave us everything he had."

Milestone

With his strikeout of Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth inning, Norris reached 1,000 strikeouts in his career, the 490th player in MLB history to do so, and the 49th active player.

"It means a lot to me and my family, my dad and my grandpa, a lot of people who have helped me a long the way. I'll definitely get emotional about it tonight, but right now I'm pretty excited about it," Norris said. "It's a testament to how hard I've worked in my career."

Norris finished his night with 1,002 career strikeouts, on Tuesday night passing Sterling Hitchcock, Jeff Samardzija, Bill, Lee, Bob Ewing, Joey Jay, Ralph Terry and Tom Browning, and now stands tied with George Ernshaw in 487th place all-time.

Liberatore down

With a left-hander up and one out in the eighth inning, Roberts didn't call on trusty southpaw Adam Liberatore, who has moved into a setup role in the bullpen. Liberatore tweaked his right knee covering first base on Sunday in St. Louis.

"It's not serious," Roberts said. "There was a little bit of swelling. It wasn't great. It was one of those you don't want to keep pushing it."

With Liberatore down, Roberts on Tuesday turned to Luis Avilan, who retired both left-handed pitchers he faced, with an intentional walk to right-hander Steve Pearce (and a run-scoring wild pitch) in between.

Opposing batters against Avilan in July are 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts and three walks (thanks to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider for that tidbit).

Up next

There is a quick turnaround for these two teams, who have a 12:10 p.m. PT start in the series finale. Brandon McCarthy starts for the Dodgers, against lefty Matt Moore for the Rays.