Philadelphia Phillies fans got a sight for sore eyes on Wednesday night as second baseman Chase Utley made his 2012 season debut. Utley punctuated his return to action with a solo home run in the first inning, his first at-bat of the year. Unfortunately, Utley's home run was not enough as the Phillies lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a final score of 11-7.
Utley finished the game with three hits in five plate appearances, adding a pair of singles to go with his homer. He helped his team jump out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Pirates got on top and stayed there with a three-run second inning. Pittsburgh added five more before Philadelphia got within one run in the seventh inning.
Reliever Chad Qualls came in to work the eighth inning, and with one out allowed a one-run double. Andrew McCutchen, the very next batter, took him deep for a two-run shot to extend the Pirates' lead.
The Phillies did manage to get to starter James McDonald for four runs, who had not allowed more than three earned runs in any start this season. Philadelphia starter Raul Valdes and reliever Joe Savery gave up a total of eight runs through five innings.
This was the first loss in the Phillies' current series with the Pirates; they won the first two games of the series on Monday and Tuesday. The two teams play one more at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.