(Sports Network) - Philadelphia Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley recorded just four runs batted in during August. At the pace Utley's at so far in September, his RBI total for the month will be astronomical.
Utley and the National League Wild Card-leading Phillies are back at home following a successful road trip out West and will open a three-game series versus the Milwaukee Brewers tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies swept San Diego in three games, took two of three matchups in Los Angeles, then defeated Colorado last night in a make-up game of a previous rainout.
Philadelphia rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and scored nine runs in the top of the seventh inning for a seemingly comfortable 12-7 advantage in Thursday's game. Utley, who drove in a pair of runs in Wednesday's win over the Dodgers, highlighted the seventh-inning deluge with a grand slam. He had already recorded an RBI single earlier in the frame.
Ryan Howard blasted a two-run shot for the Phillies, who have won three in a row and sit two games in front of San Francisco in the Wild Card standings. Utley ended with six RBI at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
"I imagine there are a lot of guys that have driven in a lot of runs here," Utley said on the team's site. "There's a lot of room for hits. The ball carries extremely well here. You put those two together, you're going to have some success."
The Phils also pulled within two games of NL East-leading Atlanta after the Braves were downed by the New York Mets on Thursday. Jayson Werth belted a solo homer in the seventh inning -- Philadelphia's third of the frame -- and went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
Colorado, however, responded with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh thanks to an RBI hit from Jonathan Herrera and a two-run single by Dexter Fowler. The Phillies were able to hold the Rockies to a run the rest of the way, though, and closer Brad Lidge notched his 19th save in the ninth.
Joe Blanton started for the Phillies and allowed six runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Antonio Bastardo got the win with an inning of relief.
The Phillies will also host Florida for four games on the residency and will try to erase the memories of a four-game sweep at the hands of Houston the last time they played at home. Cole Hamels will take the first crack at doing that when he toes the rubber tonight.
Hamels was 0-3 in his last eight starts despite a surprisingly decent 2.83 earned run average before beating the Padres in a 5-0 win last Sunday. He hurled eight scoreless innings and allowed four hits with six strikeouts and no walks to improve to 8-10 with a 3.31 ERA in 27 starts this season.
Hamels is 4-5 in 14 home starts and defeated Milwaukee on May 16 of this season at Miller Park, where he allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 triumph. The lefty and 2008 World Series MVP is 3-2 with a 4.23 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Brewers.
Milwaukee is just trying to play consistent baseball right now and was just swept in three games at Cincinnati. It won all three games against Pittsburgh before coming up empty against the Reds and suffered a 6-1 setback on Wednesday. Chris Narveson pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball for the Brewers, but Todd Coffey absorbed the loss for giving up three runs in a six- run seventh inning.
"I didn't want (Narveson) to pitch the whole game and get a loss," said Milwaukee manager Ken Macha. "He was going to be in there in the seventh inning until he got a baserunner."
Narveson also had a team-best two hits and drove in Milwaukee's only run in the fifth inning.
The Brewers, who have lost seven of 10 games, will pin tonight's pitching duties on Chris Capuano. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 5.06 earned run average in 18 games (3 starts) this season and previously pitched in last Saturday's 8-7 win versus Pittsburgh. He was fortunate the results were in Milwaukee's favor after he gave up six runs and six hits in three innings of relief.
Capuano is 0-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four career appearances, three of which have been starts, against the Phillies.
Philadelphia swept a three-game set in Milwaukee back in May and has won five of the past seven meetings between the two ballclubs.