Chase Utley’s mistake costs Philadelphia Phillies in 5-3 loss to Washington Nationals


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Utley has had an All-Star caliber first half, but Saturday night’s game will likely be left off the highlight film.

A key mental mistake by the second baseman led to two Nationals runs in the tenth inning. Combined with a couple of other shaky plays at second base and multiple runners left in scoring position, this was easily one of the worst games of Utley’s career.

For a while, it didn’t even look like the game would reach the tenth inning. The Phillies – as they often do – were struggling to score runs against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg. They got plenty of baserunners aboard, but couldn’t seem to get a clutch hit.

Meanwhile, Cole Hamels was pitching well, but one key mistake – a two-run home run served to Jayson Werth – looked like it was going to doom him to another loss.

However, the Phillies were not about to let their five-game win streak end quietly. In the sixth inning, they finally got a hit with runners in scoring position when Marlon Byrd drove in two runs with a single. In the eighth, another clutch hit came courtesy of Ben Revere whose single tied the game at three runs apiece.

Unfortunately, the comeback would end up being wasted. Jake Diekman entered the game in the tenth and walked the first batter he faced. With one out, a grounder was hit to Utley who unwisely tried to get the lead runner at second base. The runner beat the throw and Diekman was officially in a jam.

When the next batter went down swinging, it looked like Diekman might escape. But a base hit by Ryan Zimmerman ended those dreams. The Nats would go on to score another run thanks to a wild pitch.

So the winning streak is over. Let’s just hope that the Phillies – and their All-Star second baseman – can find a way to rebound tomorrow and head into the All-Star break on a high note.