San Francisco Giants

Dodgers Have a Grand Day in Utley's Return to Philadelphia, Defeat Phillies 15-5

Chase Utley hit two home runs including a grand slam in his return to Philadelphia as the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Phillies, 15-5, on Tuesday night at Citizen's Bank Park.

Ain't life Grand.

Chase Utley hit two home runs including a grand slam in his return to Philadelphia as the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Phillies, 15-5, on Tuesday night at Citizen's Bank Park.

"Tonight was a special night," Utley told Kelli Tennant of SportsNetLA of his return to Philadelphia. "It was a lot of fun seeing the Philly fans again, most importantly, it was a good win."

Philly fans came for the cheesesteaks, but they stayed for Utley as the hometown faithful gave their hero his just due, with not one, not two, but three standing ovations on the night.

"That was the last thing I was expecting," Utley said of his standing ovations that led to mulitple curtain calls. "Knowing these fans, I had a feeling that if I did something, they were going to be cheering for me, and they were."

Utley obliged the fans he spent 13 years playing in front of with three separate curtain calls, including a 90-second salute before he stepped into the batter's box to start the game.

"That's something that's truly special and they gave him a long ovation too," teammate Howie Kendrick said of Utley's tribute. "That means he's done something special here. He's been a great player for us and a great player here too. It's rare for a visiting player to come out and give a curtain call, that shows you how much respect they have for him here."

On the field, Utley was a battering ram that continued to bludgeon his former team, with a multi-homer game that came with a side of five RBIs.

"Certain players have the ability to rise to the occasion and not succumb to the pressure," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Utley's performance. "What he did in NY and tonight, there's so much expectation. His pulse is unparalleled. I'm glad he's a Dodger."

The home run happy ballpark lived up to its billing as seven total bombs were hit out of the park on Tuesday night.

Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal and Utley all went deep for the Dodgers as the team scored 13 of their season-high 15 runs in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings, respectively.

"It's always important to score runs," Utley added. "We have a good hitting team and we continue to get better on a daily basis. Hopefully, we continue to improve on that."

Cameron Rupp, Cesar Hernandez, and Ryan Howard all homered for the Phillies who have now lost three of their last four games against the Dodgers in the last week.

Kenta Maeda took over the L.A. lead for most wins on the team (Kershaw-11) and limited the damage for the Dodgers despite two of the three hits allowed leaving the park.

"The team has been putting up a lot of runs for me lately so it's enabled me to attack the hitters," Maeda told the media through an interpreter after the game. "I changed my routine a little bit, made some adjustments and I thought I did well."

Maeda (12-7) allowed two runs—both solo homers—on three hits with nine strikeouts in six solid innings.

"It was just an hoinor and amazing experience to be part of something like this today," Maeda said of starting on the night Utley returned to Philadelphia. "Hitting a home run and getting a standing ovation was pretty incredible, I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Kendrick finished 4-for-5 with a triple, home run and three RBI and has gone 14-for-25 with five doubles, two homers, a triple and eight RBI in his last six games.

"It's fun. We've just been going out and competing and guys have been putting good at-bats together," Kendrick said of the offensive attack lately. "It seems like everyone has stepped up. All the guys are having success at the plate and everyone is feeding off of that."

Grandal homered for the second time in a week off Philadelphia pitcher Vince Velasquez with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. Since June 30, Grandal leads the National League in home runs with 13 and leads the league in slugging percentage (.710) and is third in on-base percentage (.434).

Velasquez (8-5), fell victim to the hot-hitting Dodgers for the second time as he allowed five runs on seven hits including three home runs with 10 strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings pitched. Velasquez became the first pitcher to allow three home runs while striking out 10 against the Dodgers this season.

"We came to swing today," said shorstop Corey Seager. "A lot of good at-bats a lot of battling. That's what you're looking for."

Despite the Dodgers power surge and offensive output, the night belonged to Utley who hit his first grand slam in Philadelphia since 2005 and launched career home runs 128 and 129 at Citizens Bank Park, good for second all-time behind Ryan Howard who hit No. 194 in the game. 

"It couldn't happen to a better person or player," Roberts said of Utley. "For him to be received the way he was and get a standing ovation, it couldn't have been scripted any better."

After the victory, Los Angeles moved into a tie for first place in the NL West with the rival San Francisco Giants who will host the Pittsburgh Pirates with the division lead on the line later Tuesday night.

Players of the Game:

Chase Utley: 2-for-4 with a home run, grand slam and five RBI.
Howie Kendrick: 4-for-5 with a triple, home run and 3 RBI.
Yasmani Grandal: 3-for-4 with a home run, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.

Three Takeaways:

1. All Hail Utley: Chase Utley is still the man in Philly as the Dodgers second baseman hit two home runs including his second grand slam of the season in his return to Philadelphia for the first time since he was traded last August.

2. Utley Rises in the East, Sets in the West: Chase Utley played his first 13 seasons with the Phillies before joining the Dodgers last season. He currently stands second for most homers at Citizens Bank Park and sixth all time in Philadelphia franchise history with 233 homers as a member of the Phillies.

3. Volatile Velasquez: Philadelphia starting pitcher, Vince Velasquez became the first pitcher to allow three home runs to the Dodgers while still managing to strike out 10 batters in the game.

Up Next:

Dodgers (66-52): Scott Kazmir gets the call for L.A. on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Parkk.

Phillies (56-64): Jake Thompson will start for Philadelphia t 4:10 PM PST. 

All quotes courtesy of TWC's SportsNetLA.

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