Phillies Bats Chase Jays Out of Town
On a night when a key piece of the Phillies glorious recent past sat in the dugout, waiting for final word on a hotly rumored trade, the team’s future was on display on the field in a 7-4 thumping of the high-powered Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.
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Rumors began to break in the late afternoon that Chase Utley, the most beloved and respected member of that recent Glory Era team, was about to be dealt to Los Angeles. Those rumors would bear fruit as the evening wore on, and a deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers was ultimately announced over an hour after the game itself had ended.
In that game, Phillies fans did not get much of a chance to see Utley, beyond a post-game tip of the cap as he re-entered the dugout after celebrating the win with his now former teammates.
What the fans did get to see was a new piece of what the team hopes will be a bright new future. 24-year old outfielder Aaron Altherr, with just 3 games of MLB experience in which he had gone 0-7, delivered a pair of key hits, including the first homer run of the Major League career.
A Jeff Francoeur sac fly and Darin Ruf RBI single preceeded the first of Altherr’s hits, an RBI double to left field. Ruf scored on the hit, on which the Phils challenged the arm of former teammate Ben Revere and won.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Francoeur drove his 12th homer of the season out to left field off Blue Jays’ starter Mark Buehrle, extending the Phillies lead out to 4-0. Buehrle (13-6) would allow 4 earned runs on 7 hits over just 4 innings pitched.
The Jays cut the Phils lead in half in the top of the 5th. Edwin Encarnacion led off with his 23rd homer of the season on a deep drive into the left center seats off Phillies starter Adam Morgan. A doubleplay ball helped Morgan stay out of even more trouble, as he would also allow a 2-out RBI double to Cliff Pennington in the frame.
Morgan (4-4) would last 7 innings, and continues to demonstrate that he could be a part of a future Phillies rotation. He allowed just 5 hits and the 2 earned runs, striking out 3 while walking no one.
In the home 5th, the Phils got those two runs back and more. Andres Blanco, who will likely see increased playing time now that rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco is on the DL and likely out for the season, drove his 5th homer to leadoff the frame. Then with two out and a man on, Altherr hit his first big league round-tripper to make it a 7-2 game.
The Jays would score a pair in the 8th to cut their deficit to 7-4, and demonstrate that no lead is safe against their vaunted lineup. But the Phils brought in closer Ken Giles for the 9th, and the flame-thrower earned his 8th Save in as many opportunities, allowing just one baserunner on a fielding error.
After the game, the Phillies locker room was closed, and the gathered media were asked to remain in anticipation of a big announcement, which everyone knew would be the Utley deal. Both the current GM Ruben Amaro and the Phillies former star addressed the issue, and Chase departed for his reunion with old buddy Jimmy Rollins for tonight’s Dodgers game in Miami.