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Utley belts grand slam in just third career at-bat

4/24/2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Chase Utley ran so fast around the bases he
didn't get to savor his first hit.

Utley hit a grand slam in his first major league game as a
starter, leading the Philadelphia Phillies over the Colorado
Rockies 9-1 Thursday for a three-game sweep.

The 24-year-old second baseman, starting because Placido Polanco
went on the disabled list, was 0-for-1 in his only other major
league game April 4.

Utley flied out in the second inning, then gave the Phillies a
6-0 lead in the third when he homered into the right-field bullpen
off Aaron Cook (1-2). Utley became the first major leaguer with a
grand slam for his first hit since Boston's Creighton Gubanich
against Oakland in 1999.

"When I got back to the dugout, I was wondering why I was
running so fast,'' said Utley, who nearly passed David Bell on the
bases. "I was stuck in the same gear. I couldn't slow down.''

Utley, the 15th overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft, began
the season on Philadelphia's roster, but went back to Triple-A
Scranton after striking out in the home opener. He was called up
Wednesday night after the Phillies decided Polanco needed more time
to heal an injured finger that he hurt on April 15.

Utley's trip back to the big leagues included waiting at a gas
station for a ride to Philadelphia. Utley was on a bus heading for
Ottawa with the rest of his Red Barons teammates when he got word
the Phillies were bringing him up.

"We were 45 minutes outside of Scranton. They pulled over, told
me to sit on the side of the gas station and wait for one of the
clubhouse guys to come get me,'' Utley said. "I was in the middle
of nowhere. I was excited. I was thrilled.''

Utley went 2-for-4, doubling in the eighth. He hit .263 with 17
homers and 70 RBIs last year at Scranton and was batting .302 with
one homer and nine RBIs in 63 at-bats there this season.

"He's a good player, he has a lot of ability,'' Phillies
manager Larry Bowa said.

Pat Burrell also homered to back Randy Wolf (3-1), who struck
out eight in 7 2/3 innings and allowed a home run to Jay Payton.
Wolf pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the fifth and sixth
innings.

"To get in those situations is bad, but the fact I was able to
slow myself down and get out of it is a big thing for me,'' Wolf
said.

Cook gave up six runs -- four earned -- and six hits in four
innings. He was coming off his best outing of the season, a
complete-game 12-1 victory over San Diego.

"I made a mistake to Utley, and he hit a grand slam,'' Cook
said. "We had three bad games here. It'll be good to get back
home.''

Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead in the first. With two on, Bobby
Abreu grounded to second, but Ronnie Belliard's toss to shortstop
Jose Hernandez sailed into left field as Jimmy Rollins scored. Jim
Thome added a sacrifice fly.

Wolf loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, then struck out
Chris Stynes, retired pinch-hitter Brent Butler on a shallow fly to
right and got Belliard to pop out to second.

In the sixth, Gabe Kapler grounded into a double-play that ended
another bases-loaded threat.

"In this series, every batter on our roster had a chance to do
something and nobody did,'' Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Game notes
The Rockies are 4-9 on the road, 8-1 at Coors Field. ...
Belliard was 0-for-4 and is 1-for-20 against Wolf. ... Rollins was
3-for-5 with one RBI. ... The previous Phillies player to hit a
homer for his first big league hit was Marlon Anderson against the
New York Mets in 1998. Jim Command was the previous Phillies player
to get a slam for his first hit, against Brooklyn in 1954. It was
Command's only homer in the majors. ... The Phillies have won seven
straight against the Rockies in Philadelphia.