Utley, Eaton Dust Off Rockies – Phillies Nation
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Utley, Eaton Dust Off Rockies

The Phillies took care of the team that swept them out of the 2007 playoffs with a clean 5-0 sweep in 2008. Tonight it was the end of a 3-0 home sweep, with Adam Eaton throwing a good six innings for his first win, and Chase Utley guiding the offense with his Major League-leading 17th home run. The 6-1 win puts the Phils at a season-high seven games over .500 and 0.5 games back of the first place Marlins, who lost to the Mets, 7-6, in 12 innings.

Eaton allowed just four hits and a walk in his six innings. He struggled a bit in the third inning, surrendering a run, but bad Rockies baserunning took away the greater threat. Eaton threw 98 pitches and looked comfortable, attacking hitters with fastball strikes and dizzying breaking balls. Give the man credit — he went after an inexperienced Rockies lineup, and like Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick before him, never let up.

Then there’s Utley, who continues to demonstrate why he’s the top National League vote-getter for the All-Star Game. His mammoth upper deck home run in the sixth was the winning shot and the decisive blow off a weary Greg Reynolds. The Rockies’ rookie pitcher walked eight but tiptoed out of trouble throughout the game. His bad control finally caught up to him with Utley damning him handsomely. And as has been the case since his return from injury, Shane Victorino set the tone. He was on base 80 percent of the time tonight (three hits, a walk), stole two bases and scored two runs. He’s now hitting .291 and generally causing menace whenever he reaches base.

Geoff Jenkins supplied two runs via a moonshot to right field in the sixth, his fourth of the season. He’s now hitting .290 — since May 17 he’s raised his average 35 points. Clearly Victorino and Jenkins are responding as they get more time to play.

The bullpen had another night of mop-up work, with Ryan Madson ducking out of trouble in 1.1 innings, JC Romero cleaning up the eighth and Chad Durbin finishing it off for an inning.

There’s nothing like putting a team away for the season, forgetting all about them and knowing you owned them when you played them. Sure the Rox were missing a few key players (Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe, etc.), but a team is a team and wins are wins. Eaton has another good start to build on. The offense can take a short rest after their four-game high-scoring streak. The bullpen got plenty of necessary rest. Now, breathe, and get ready for the year’s biggest test yet: The first-place Florida Marlins.

Associated Press photo

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