The Philadelphia Phillies dropped the opener of a three game series at Dodger Stadium against the host Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
Taking the field for the first time against the franchise for whom he became a baseball legend, Chase Utley provided some melodrama with a 2nd inning home run, and the host Los Angeles Dodgers went on to a 9-4 victory over the Phillies on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
“It was cool,” Utley said per MLB.com contributors of playing against his team of 12 1/2 seasons. “You’re still trying to go out there and compete and win. Obviously I know lot of faces in that dugout, but the main goal is to win a game and we did. It was definitely different. Wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was exciting to see those guys for sure.”
Utley actually led off the bottom of the 1st inning for the Dodgers, flying out easily to left field against Phillies rookie starting pitcher Zach Eflin. It would prove to be the only thing that came easily for the Phils right-hander in that initial frame.
The Dodgers used four hits and two walks, including a solo home run from rookie shortstop sensation Corey Seager and two other extra base hits, to explode for five runs in that 1st inning against Eflin (3-5), who was blitzed for a third consecutive outing.
Over his last three starts, Eflin has now allowed 20 earned runs on 22 hits over 13 innings pitched with only a 5/9 K:BB ratio. He has also allowed six home runs in those starts, half of those coming last night.
The Dodgers spread the offense well around their lineup. Catcher Yasmani Grandal went 2-3 with three runs scored, banging his 17th home run of the year in the 3rd inning off Eflin.
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Seager was 2-4 with a pair of runs scored and RBI as he continues what could well be a Rookie of the Year campaign. Young center fielder Joc Pederson had three RBI, and veteran 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez chipped in a pair of hits while scoring and knocking in a run.
There wasn’t much to cheer for Phillies fans, many of whom were likely sent to be by the middle innings. Cameron Rupp had a pair of hits and a walk as he continues what has been a breakout season for the backstop.
The only other Phillies offense on the night was provided by Eflin himself, ironically, who slung two hits, becoming at age 22 the youngest Phillies pitcher in over four decades with a two-hit game.
Tommy Joseph blasted his 15th home run of the season in the top of the 8th inning off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez. That gives Joseph the most home runs by a Phillies rookie since another 1st baseman named Ryan Howard ripped 22 longballs back in 2005.
With the win, the Dodgers moved to 63-49 on the year, remaining just a game back of the rival San Francisco Giants in the NL West Division race. They also hold a four-game lead on the first NL Wildcard playoff spot.
The Phillies fell to 10 games below the .500 mark at 52-62, and remain eight games back of an NL Wildcard berth. They are seven games ahead of the 2015 pace which saw them finish at the bottom of the overall MLB standings.