Utley homers in 5th straight game to spark Phillies Print
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Tuesday, 22 April 2008 00:18
MLB Headline News

 Chase Utley used his bat and glove to help the Phillies win, while Micah Owings of Arizona and Mark Hendrickson of Florida pitched and hit their teams to victory.
Utley homered for the fifth straight game and made a diving stop to start a key double play in the third inning as Philadelphia rallied for a 9-5 win over Colorado on Monday night.
Owings, a .333 hitter with four homers and 15 RBIs in 60 at-bats last year, went 2-for-3 and pitched 6 1-3 solid innings in Arizona's 4-2 win over San Francisco.
Hendrickson, 1-for-46 the previous two seasons, also had two hits while pitching eight innings for Florida in a 10-4 victory over slumping Pittsburgh.
Even after extending his home run streak, it was Utley's play on Clint Barmes' grounder up the middle that had his teammates heaping praise upon him.
``Incredible,'' Jayson Werth said. ``That was a great play. I came in and watched it on replay. It was one of the best plays I've seen.''
In other NL games, it was: Chicago 7, New York 1; Los Angeles 9, Cincinnati 3; Atlanta 7, Washington 3; St. Louis 4, Milwaukee 3; and Houston 10, San Diego 3.
In the first meeting between the teams since Colorado swept Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs last October, the host Rockies led 3-0 when they loaded the bases with one out in the third. Barmes hit a sharp grounder over the mound, and Utley laid out to snare it, starting an inning-ending double play.
``The ball took a funny hop off the mound and it hung up in the air,'' Utley said. ``I got lucky and caught it. A base hit there would have hurt a lot.''
The Phillies were down 5-2 in the sixth when Werth hit a drive to deep center that Willy Taveras couldn't get off the carom, and he beat the relay throw to home for an inside-the-park homer. Utley followed with his major league-leading ninth home run to make it 5-4 and chase starter Mark Redman.
It was Utley's sixth in five games. He became the fourth player in Philadelphia franchise history to homer in five straight games. Bobby Abreu was the last to do it on May 8-12, 2005.
Philadelphia mounted the winning rally in the eighth off Taylor Buchholz (1-1) with two outs and no one on. Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell singled, and Pedro Feliz walked. Brian Fuentes came on in relief, and Carlos Ruiz doubled down the right-field line to drive in two runs.
Philadelphia added three runs in the top of the ninth off Micah Bowie on doubles by Werth and T.J. Bohn. Rudy Seanez (2-1) got the win in relief.
Meanwhile, Owings and Hendrickson joined the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb, and Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox as the first four-game winners in the majors this season.
At Arizona, Owings (4-0) allowed two runs, including Fred Lewis' solo homer, and five hits. He struck out four, walked one and hit two batters.
Eric Byrnes, Mark Reynolds and Orlando Hudson hit home runs and the Diamondbacks improved their major league-best record to 14-5.
``A lot of good baseball players in here,'' Byrnes said in the clubhouse afterward. ``I don't think this is an aberration the way we're playing. I think this is the type of team that this is.''
At Pittsburgh, Hendrickson (4-1) won his fourth start in a row despite giving up four runs, three earned, and eight hits, but it was his own hitting that was the surprise.
The 6-foot-9 former NBA player - an .071 career hitter coming in - doubled and scored in the fourth inning before hitting a run-scoring single an inning later.
``We work on hitting every day at home, we kind of go through hitting like a hitter does,'' Hendrickson said. ``Hopefully it will pay off and tonight it did.''
Hendrickson already has three hits this season, or two more than he had in any of the previous five major league seasons in which he batted. He also has as many wins as he did while going 4-8 with the Dodgers last season.
The Marlins, off to a surprising 12-7 start, continued their unexpected surge of power hitting. They traded star Miguel Cabrera during the offseason, yet their 29 homers are the second most in the NL.
The Pirates, meanwhile, lost their sixth in a row and gave up double-digit runs for the third consecutive game. They hadn't done that since Montreal scored a combined 35 runs during a three-game sweep in June 1994.
``It's tough when you look up after two or three innings and the opposing team has put up eight runs. It's hard,'' Pirates manager John Russell said. ``It shuts down a lot of the things you can do as an offensive club.''
Braves 7, Nationals 3
At Atlanta, Tim Hudson pitched six scoreless innings before tiring and drove in two runs, leading the Braves past Washington for Atlanta's fifth straight win.
Washington keeps falling farther and farther back in the NL East race. The Nationals lost their third in a row and have dropped 15 of 17 since starting the season with three straight wins.
Cubs 7, Mets 1
At Chicago, Carlos Zambrano pitched seven strong innings, and Aramis Ramirez and Felix Pie homered as the surging Cubs won for the 12th time in 15 games.
Cardinals 4, Brewers 3
At Milwaukee, Skip Schumaker doubled in the go-ahead run in the ninth and St. Louis overcame a fielding blunder in the eighth to beat Milwaukee in the opener of a two-game set.
Astros 10, Padres 3
At Houston, Roy Oswalt won consecutive starts for the first time since August, and Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman drove in three runs each to lead Houston over San Diego.
Dodgers 9, Reds 3
At Cincinnati, Nomar Garciaparra hit his first home run since Sept. 14 and drove in three runs, Brad Penny (3-2) stayed perfect at Great American Ball Park and Los Angeles beat Cincinnati.
 

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