It's rare to see a visiting player get a curtain call for hitting a home run, but Chase Utley accomplished the feat not once, but twice in Philadelphia Tuesday night in the Dodgers 15-5 trouncing of the Phillies. Utley himself drove in five runs with a solo home run in the fifth off starter Vincent Velasquez and then topped his night off with a grand slam off Michael Mariot two innings later.
The curtain calls came after a raucous introduction of Utley when he stepped to the plate to leadoff the game. With the familiar strains of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir blaring through Citizens Bank Park, catcher Cameron Rupp and home plate umpire Ron Kulpa stepped out of the batter's circle to give Utley the full spotlight that he deserved in his return as the Philadelphia fans saluted Utley with nearly 90-seconds of standing applause to welcome him back. Those same fans booed when the first pitch from Velasquez was called a strike.
Utley struck out and flied out in his first two at-bats before launching a solo home run - his ninth of the season - off Velasquez to center field in the fifth. The shot gave the visitors a 3-1 lead at the time, and just two innings later, Utley would lead off the inning with a walk, but would later be thrown out at the plate trying to score from third on a chopper to first baseman Ryan Howard, who like the Phillies fans, was applauding Utley during his first at-bat.
With one out, it looked like Elvis Araujo, who had come on in relief to start the inning, might have a way to work out of the jam. Things fell apart quickly though and after a base-hit and two walks, the Dodgers had scored three times in the inning, to make it 8-2. Mariot came on in relief and struck out Howie Kendrick, but Rob Segedin singled to left to drive in a run and leave the bases loaded for Utley.
Utley drove a 1-1 pitch into right center field, making his return to Philadelphia somewhat of a fairy tale. Just that quick, the Dodgers also had expanded their lead to 13-2.
It was somewhat ironic that Howard, a longtime friend and teammate of Utley, would hit his 18th home run in the bottom of the inning, making it a 13-4 game.null