Phillies Notes: Rejuvenated Utley producing runs like his old self again

Posted: July 27, 2012

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, whose knee problems delayed the start of his season until June 27, has continued to show plenty of spring in his step.

Utley went 3 for 4 with three RBIs in Wednesday's 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. It was his first game of more than two RBIs.

More impressive is that since the all-star break, he has started in 11 of 12 games, including the last nine in a row.

"I still can't play 40 in a row, but I'm working toward it," Utley said.

Utley has driven in at least one run in seven of his last 11 games, with 10 RBIs in that span. For the season, he is batting .257 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 74 at-bats.

In Wednesday's win he also stole his third base of the year and made a sensational over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field on what was a 10th-inning sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez.

"When it was initially hit I didn't think I'd have a chance to catch it," Utley said.

Manager Charlie Manuel said he has tried to be cautious about bringing both Utley and Ryan Howard back. Howard returned from his Achilles surgery on July 6 and has now started six consecutive games.

"I am kind of concerned about how much I am playing [Utley] and Howard, but at the same time, we got off [Thursday] and that should really help," Manuel said.

The Phillies begin a three-game series Friday in Atlanta and then have off on Monday before visiting the Washington Nationals for three.

Utley said the days off in the schedule are welcome. He remains highly encouraged about his progress.

"Every day has been a positive," he said. "I haven't slowed down and gone backwards at all. I feel like I am playing at a level I am accustomed to."

Zeroes for Kendrick

With 12/3 shutout innings on Wednesday, Kyle Kendrick increased his current scoreless streak to 201/3 innings, the best current mark in the major leagues.

"I am throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters, and trying to get quick outs," Kendrick said.

Home run trot

Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez led off the game by hitting a long fly ball to left that he thought was a home run. In fact he circled the bases, only to realize he hit a foul ball.

"I think he was practicing running around the bases," Manuel said to laughter. "That is pretty good; he didn't cut off, he kept coming."

After the trot he returned to the batter's box and struck out looking against starter Vance Worley.

MRI for Polanco

Placido Polanco had an MRI on his ailing back. He missed his third straight game on Wednesday but said he had not yet talked to the doctors about the results. "It's sore," he said.

Extra bases

Even though they swept the Brewers, the Phillies won't be sorry to see Ryan Braun leave town. Braun was 7 for 12 (.583) with two home runs, four RBIs, and four runs in the three games. . . . According to the Phillies, catcher Carlos Ruiz leads all National league players in RBIs in the seventh inning or later, with 27. Serving as a pinch-hitter, Ruiz hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 6 in the 10th inning. . . . Jimmy Rollins' RBI single in the 10th provided the Phillies with their sixth walk-off win of the season and their third in the last four games.

Contact Marc Narducci

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