Phillies hammer Cardinals

Thursday, August 3, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 34 games when the official scorer changed his call on an eighth-inning grounder, then added a single in the ninth to help the Philadelphia Phillies rout the St. Louis Cardinals 16-8 Wednesday night.

Utley was 0-for-4 when, with the Phillies leading 11-7, he hit a bouncer to the third-base side of the pitchers' mound. Reliever Randy Flores, a left-hander, grabbed the ball with his glove hand as his momentum carried him toward third. He briefly hesitated to check Shane Victorino, the runner off third, and then turned and threw wide and late to first.

First base umpire Adam Dowdy signaled that Albert Pujols was off the bag, but Utley already had beaten the throw.

Official scorer Mike Smith initially ruled it a fielder's choice -- the scoreboard nevertheless credited a hit -- but after watching replays Smith changed his call to a hit. Smith cited section 10.06 of the Official Baseball Rules, which states that a hit should be scored when a fielder looks or feints at a base before throwing late.

Utley is batting 59-for-147 (.401) during the streak, which is four games behind teammate Jimmy Rollins' franchise-record 38-game streak that included 36 games last year and the first two games this season. Rollins' streak was stopped by the Cardinals.

Utley, batting .328 overall, is tied with Benito Santiago (1987) for the eighth-longest streak in NL history. Utley has five two-hit games in his last six games.

Rollins homered twice, including his 16th career leadoff homer, and scored a career-high five runs and had four RBIs. David Delluci was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, and Aaron Rowand also homered for the Phillies, who led 5-0 in the second and 8-2 after five innings.

The Phillies needed more offense after the Cardinals knocked out Brett Myers (7-5) in a four-run seventh that shaved the deficit to 8-7.

Chris Duncan and Aaron Miles hit two-run homers for the Cardinals, who lost their sixth straight but still lead the National League Central by 3 1/2 games.

Phillies pitchers had retired 19 straight batters before the Cardinals broke through on Duncan's seventh homer in the second.

Miles, who got the majority of the playing time at second base before Ronnie Belliard was acquired from the Indians on the trade deadline, hit his second homer in the seventh off Ryan Madson to cap a four-run inning that cut the deficit to one.

Pinch-hitter Chris Coste's RBI double off Braden Looper and a two-run triple by Victorino off Flores when right fielder Juan Encarnacion missed on a diving attempt in the eighth made it 11-7. Ryan Howard added an RBI single and Pat Burrell had a sacrifice fly off Flores.

Rollins' second homer of the game and 14th of the season was a three-run shot off Josh Hancock in the ninth that made it 16-8.

Jeff Weaver (1-2) allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings and has given in 18 runs and 32 hits in 18 2-3 innings with St. Louis.

Myers gave up six runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Noteworthy

Weaver has allowed 14 runs in 7 1/3 innings in two career starts against the Phillies. The other was in 2002.

Rollins is 4-for-5 against Weaver with three homers and five RBIs. Abraham Nunez, who doubled and scored in the second, is 4-for-8 against Weaver.

Rollins has two career multihomer games, both this year. The other was June 13 against the Mets.

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