Philadelphia Phillies top Toronto Blue Jays in Chase Utley's farewell game

By Gordie Jones, The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 20, 2015 at 1:18 AM
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PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley doffed his cap as he left the field at Citizens Bank Park for the last time Wednesday night.

Two of his Philadelphia Phillies teammates, meanwhile, took a bow.

Amid reports that Utley was about to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers -- reports finally verified by the team during a news conference an hour after the game -- rookies Adam Morgan and Aaron Altherr starred in a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Morgan pitched seven strong innings and Altherr, who made his first career start in left field, homered and drove in three runs.

Altherr went 2-for-3 and recorded his first major league hits and RBIs. Recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, he was 0-for-7 in three games, including two last season.

"It was good to be out there and get that first hit out of the way," he said. "I hope I can just keep producing up here and helping the team win."

Morgan, who matched the longest outing of his first season, yielded two runs and five hits while striking out three. He didn't walk a batter in improving to 4-4. It was also his second victory over the Jays this season.

"I really didn't try to do anything special," he said, "just stick to my strengths and move the ball in and out, front and back."

Third baseman Andres Blanco and right fielder Jeff Francoeur also homered for Philadelphia, which snapped a four-game losing streak.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. called Utley, a six-time All-Star during his 13 years with the Phillies, "an iconic, generational player." He said the decision to trade him for two minor leaguers was not easy, but ultimately decided it was the best decision, for Utley and the team.

Utley, a Southern California native, reached the same conclusion after meeting with Amaro three weeks ago.

"It's definitely difficult," Utley said, "but like Ruben said, it's time."

He had the right to veto any deal, but said he looks forward to going to the Dodgers, a team for which he rooted while growing up. He will also be reunited with former Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who was traded to Los Angeles in the offseason.

"The hardest part is leaving the city of Philadelphia," Utley said. "This city has meant a lot to me over the years."

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion homered for Toronto, which lost for only the fourth time in 20 games.

The Blue Jays continue to lead the American League wild-card race, but their loss, coupled with the New York Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins, dropped them two games behind the Yankees in the AL East.

Jays starter Mark Buehrle (13-6) saw his four-game winning streak end. Buehrle lasted just four innings, his shortest outing since Aug. 10, 2014, against Detroit, and gave up four runs and seven hits while striking out two without a walk.

He said afterward that his stuff was fine.

"I wish I could have a lot of these nights," he said. "My location was good. I thought my stuff was better than my last four outings. Just bad luck. ... I had a bad start, but I was making my pitches."

In the first inning, Blanco and center fielder Odubel Herrera lashed consecutive one-out singles and, combined with an error by right fielder Jose Bautista, put runners at first and third.

Francoeur delivered a run with a sacrifice fly and Herrera advanced to second on the throw home by left fielder Ben Revere, a former Phillie.

First baseman Darin Ruf tacked on a run-scoring single and Altherr's RBI double made it 3-0.

In the third, Francoeur hit his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot, with two outs.

The Jays scored twice in the fifth to cut the gap to 4-2. Encarnacion led off with his 23rd homer of the season, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. Second baseman Cliff Pennington drove in a run with a double later in the inning.

Blanco, leading off the bottom of the fifth, lined a 3-2 fastball from reliever Bo Schultz into the seats in right field. With Herrera at third and two outs in the inning, Altherr launched a homer to left, giving the Phillies a 7-2 cushion.

Toronto scored twice against reliever Luis Garcia in the eighth on an error by Philadelphia second baseman Cesar Hernandez and an infield out.

NOTES: Phillies LF Aaron Altherr became the first Phillie to record his first career hit, home run, RBI, double and walk in a game since Denny Southern on Sept. 10, 1926, against the Chicago Cubs. ... RHP Ken Giles earned his eighth save for the Phillies. ... Toronto LHP Mark Buehrle began Wednesday night needing to pitch 45 more innings this season to become only the fourth pitcher since 1901 to pitch more than 200 innings in 13 straight seasons. The others are Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry, Warren Spahn and Don Sutton. ... The solo home run by Phillies RF Jeff Francoeur in Tuesday's 8-5 loss to Toronto was his fourth homer in his last eight home games. He was batting .550 during that span. ... Blue Jays RHP Roberto Osuna, who doesn't turn 21 until Feb. 7, posted his 14th save on Tuesday night. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the only pitcher to convert more in a season before turning 21 was Chicago White Sox LHP Terry Forster, who had 29 in 1972.

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