The Phillies offense had only scored nine runs over their past six games, but equaled that total by the 3rd inning of tonight's game as they crushed the Reds 10-3. It was the sixth straight loss for Cincinnati. Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez all homered while Cole Hamels turned in a quality start for his sixth win of the year. Reds' starter Bronson Arroyo was pounded for nine runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Tonight featured the much anticipated return of Chase Utley to the Phillies lineup after the 2B had the first 46 games of the year. Utley was greeted with a huge ovation by the 45,841 fans who showed up, which was the largest regular season crowd in Citizens' Bank Park history. While he did do some nice things in the field, Utley looked predictably rusty at the plate going 0-5. He was the only starter to not get a hit.
Considering Utley had no spring training and got only limited at bats in Clearwater over the past few weeks, it will clearly take him some time to get back in the groove. Still, it was good seeing #26 out there at second base and while we can't assume Utley was the reason, there certainly was an extra energy around the team this evening.
The Phillies hold a two game lead in the NL East and could tie the Indians for the most wins in baseball if the Red Sox hold on to their 2-1 lead tonight. Vance Worley will face Johny Cueto tomorrow evening as the Phils take on the Reds in game two of their four game set.