Phillies 5, Expos 3

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Chase Utley rounded first base, looked up and realized he’d just delivered the biggest hit of his young career.

Utley’s bases-clearing triple with two outs in the eighth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Expos on Tuesday night.

The Phillies have won four of five since losing six straight, and moved into a tie with Florida for the NL wild-card lead.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and drive in a run,” said Utley, who hit a grand slam against Colorado for his first hit in the majors earlier this season. “That was a big win for us.”

The Expos have lost five straight since sweeping a four-game series against the Phillies in Montreal last week.

After Endy Chavez gave the Expos a 3-2 lead on an RBI infield single in the eighth, the Phillies came back against Javier Vazquez (12-9).

Jim Thome walked with two outs in the eighth and Mike Lieberthal doubled. Ricky Ledee was intentionally walked to load the bases and Utley followed with his first career triple, a liner to left-center.

Utley had made two fielding blunders, including one that led to the go-ahead run in the eighth.

“He didn’t have a good night until the last at-bat,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “He got a huge hit. That tells you about the makeup of the kid. He’s an intelligent hitter.”

Rheal Cormier (5-0) pitched the eighth for the win, and Dan Plesac worked the ninth for his second save.

“We needed this. I needed this,” Plesac said.

Thome hit his 38th homer and Amaury Telemaco allowed two runs in seven innings for the Phillies, who are in the middle of a stretch of playing 27 consecutive days.

Vazquez hadn’t allowed a run in his last three starts, spanning 26 innings. He gave up five runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Thome’s one-out homer in the fourth snapped Vazquez’s scoreless streak at 29 1-3 innings.

“We’ve got to figure out what’s wrong and fix it,” Vazquez said.

Vladimir Guerrero walked to start the eighth against Mike Williams. Wil Cordero followed with a single off Williams’ glove. Guerrero left for pinch-runner Jose Macias after he hyperextended his left knee running to second. Todd Zeile then walked to load the bases.

Cormier came in and got Brian Schneider to ground into a double play— second to home to first. But Chavez followed with a bouncer to second. Utley quickly fielded the ball, but bounced his throw and Thome couldn’t handle it cleanly.

“That was an unbelievable jam Cormier got out of,” Bowa said. “They could’ve blown it open.”

Jose Vidro’s RBI double and Zeile’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Expos a 2-1 lead.

Lieberthal tied it at 2 on an RBI single.

“It’s frustrating,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “It’s the way we’ve been losing games and it’s becoming contagious.”

Telemaco, making his fourth start since replacing Brandon Duckworth as the fifth starter, gave up four hits in seven innings. He got out of a jam in the seventh, striking out Vidro with runners on first and third.

“When I go out there, I don’t have a No. 5 on my back. I’m the No. 1 starter for that night,” Telemaco said. “I want to pitch like a No. 1starter, like our No. 1, Kevin Millwood.”

Notes

Robinson said Guerrero will miss Wednesday’s game. He could return Friday. … Vazquez fell short of Woody Fryman’s team-record 32 2-3 scoreless innings streak in 1975. … Thome’s 38 homers are the most by a Phillies player since Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt hit 40 in 1983. Pat Burrell had 37 last season. … Phillies CF Marlon Byrd made an outstanding, leaping catch at the fence on a drive by Guerrero to start the fourth. … Expos SS Orlando Cabrera was 0-for-3 against Telemaco and has just one hit in 20 at-bats against him. … Phillies pitchers have walked 21 in the last two games. … Vidro was ejected by plate umpire Mike Fichter in the ninth for arguing a called thirdstrike.

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