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Utley Returns, Phils Down Reds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Everyone in Phillies Nation was happy Monday night after second baseman Chase Utley finally returned to the lineup. (Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011)

    Chase Utley went 0-fer in his return to the Phillies and Cole Hamels didn't have his best stuff, but it didn't stop the Phillies from putting a 10-spot up on the Reds Monday night to take the first of a four game set against the defending National League Central champs.

    After a 1-2-3 first from Hamels and a lead-off single in the bottom half of the inning from Jimmy Rollins, Utley strolled to the plate and was promptly drowned out by the cacophony of cheers from the record 45,801 at Citizens Bank Park. He popped out in his first at-bat since Game 6 of the 2010 National League Championship Series, and would go hitless on the night, but it made very little difference, as the Phillies routed the Reds with their first offensive outburst in what seemed like forever.

    They got the scoring going in the bottom of the first, when Placido Polanco followed Utley by roping a one-out homer over to give the Phightins the early lead over Reds' starter Bronson Arroyo (3-5).

    After stranding a pair of runners in the second, the Phils stormed out of the gates in the third to put up a seven spot. Polanco and Ryan Howard started things off with a pair of singles, and Polanco scored on an RBI single from Raul Ibanez. Carlos Ruiz worked a walk to load the bases for Domonic Brown, who lined out to left, leaving it in the hands of John Mayberry, Jr. who dunked a single into left field to score a pair to extend the lead. After Hamels singled home Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins belted a three-run homer to right, to extend their lead and make it a 9-0 game.

    The Reds got on the board in the top of the fourth when Jay Bruce took Hamels deep with a three-run homer, but it would be all they would muster off Hamels, who allowed three runs over six innings to improve to 6-2.

    Raul Ibanez capped the Phils' scoring in the bottom half of the frame, when he launched his fifth homer of the year, a solo shot, to center to extend their lead to 10-3.

    "It's definitely nice to score together as a group," Ibanez said. "Hopefully it helps us build momentum. It's great to see (Utley) out there, to have him back in the lineup. He's a huge part of our team. We definitely missed him."

    It's no surprise that the lineup came out swinging with a double-digit effort on the night of Utley's return, but very few of us would have predicted it happening without the aid of the second baseman's bat, as he was the only starter to not notch a hit.

    The 10-run, 14-hit outburst was the first time the Phils have scored more than three runs since May 13, and the first time they've hit double digits in runs since April 29.

    The Phillies are now winners of four of their last six, and are still tops in the National League with a 29-18 record.

    The Phils turn to Vance Worley (2-0, 1.13 ERA) on Tuesday night. Reds' right-hander Johnny Cueto (2-1, 1.45) will oppose the Phils rookie.