ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chase Utley's legs, along with a reconsidered
official scoring call, helped him extend his hitting streak to 34
Utley kept the longest streak in the major leagues this year
alive when the scorer changed his call on an eighth-inning
grounder, then added a single in the ninth to help the Philadelphia Phillies rout the St. Louis Cardinals 16-8 Wednesday night.
"I was wondering why that wasn't a hit," Phillies manager
Charlie Manuel said. "That was a hit. He cleanly beat that out.
That's what happens with speed."
Utley was 0-for-4 when, with the Phillies leading 11-7, he hit a
bouncer to the third-base side of the pitchers' mound. Reliever
Randy Flores, a left-hander, grabbed the ball with his glove hand
as his momentum carried him toward third. He briefly hesitated to
check Shane Victorino, the runner off third, and then turned and
threw wide and late to first.
"I checked him, gathered my feet, and did that all too slow,"
Flores said. "Too slow to get him out maybe would be a better way
to say it."
First base umpire Adam Dowdy signaled that Albert Pujols was off
the bag, but Utley already had beaten the throw.
Official scorer Mike Smith initially ruled it a fielder's choice
-- the scoreboard nevertheless credited a hit -- but after watching
replays Smith changed his call to a hit. Smith cited section 10.06
of the Official Baseball Rules, which states that a hit should be
scored when a fielder looks or feints at a base before throwing
"My gut reaction was Flores' hesitation allowed him to beat the
throw," Smith said. "In the end, the hit was the right call, and
it's backed up by the rule book."
Utley has consistently changed the subject when his hitting
streak has come up. When he was asked about the play, he responded
with praise for Brett Myers' start, the Phillies' offense and the
play of David Dellucci, who was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI.
"He's very humble. He's going out there to do his job," Myers
said. "He's not going out there to break any records. I think that
he feels satisfied if he helps the team."
Utley is batting 59-for-147 (.401) during the streak, which is
four games behind teammate Jimmy Rollins' franchise-record 38-game
streak that included 36 games last year and the first two games
this season. His streak was stopped by the Cardinals.
Utley, batting .328 overall, is tied with Benito Santiago (1987)
for the eighth-longest streak in NL history. Utley has five two-hit
games in his last six games.
Rollins homered twice, including his 16th career leadoff homer,
and scored a career-high five runs and had four RBI. Dellucci
was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI and Aaron Rowand also
homered for the Phillies, who led 5-0 in the second and 8-2 after
five innings and then needed more offense after the Cardinals
knocked out Myers (7-5) in a four-run seventh that shaved the
deficit to 8-7.
Chris Duncan and Aaron Miles hit two-run homers for the
Cardinals, who lost their sixth straight but still lead the NL
Central by 3½ games. Manager Tony La Russa's postgame remarks
lasted all of six seconds.
"This won't take long," La Russa said. "No part of our club
was good enough, including the manager, and I don't have anything
more to say."
Phillies pitchers had retired 19 straight batters before the
Cardinals broke through on Duncan's seventh homer in the second.
Miles, who got the majority of the playing time at second base
before Ronnie Belliard was acquired from the Indians on the trade
deadline, hit his second homer in the seventh off Ryan Madson to
cap a four-run inning that cut the deficit to 8-7.
Pinch-hitter Chris Coste's RBI double off Braden Looper and a
two-run triple by Victorino off Flores when right fielder Juan Encarnacion missed on a diving attempt in the eighth made it 11-7.
Ryan Howard added an RBI single and Pat Burrell had a sacrifice fly
Rollins' second homer of the game and 14th of the season was a
three-run shot off Josh Hancock in the ninth that made it 16-8.
Jeff Weaver (1-2) allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 1/3
innings and has given up 18 runs and 32 hits in 18 2/3 innings with
St. Louis. He appeared to be visibly sagging as the outing wore on.
"One thing I won't do is ever give up," Weaver said. "If
that's the way it looked out there it's not what I was trying to
portray. Obviously, the results were terrible."
Myers gave up six runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
Weaver has allowed 14 runs in 7 1/3 innings in two career
starts against the Phillies. The other was in 2002. ... Rollins is
4-for-5 against Weaver with three homers and five RBI. Abraham
Nunez, who doubled and scored in the second, is 4-for-8 against
Weaver. ... Rollins has two career multihomer games, both this
year. The other was June 13 against the Mets.