ST. LOUIS (AP)—Chase Utley’s legs, along with a reconsidered official scoring call, helped him extend his hitting streak to 34 games.
Utley kept the longest streak in the major leagues this year alive when the 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.
“I was wondering why that wasn’t a hit,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “That was a hit. He cleanly beat that out. That’s what happens with speed.”
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.
“I checked him, gathered my feet, and did that all too slow,” Flores said. “Too slow to get him out maybe would be a better way to say it.”
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.
“My gut reaction was Flores’ hesitation allowed him to beat the throw,” Smith said. “In the end, the hit was the right call, and it’s backed up by the rule book.”
Utley has consistently changed the subject when his hitting streak has come up. When he was asked about the play, he responded with praise for Brett Myers’ start, the Phillies’ offense and the play of David Dellucci, who was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs.
“He’s very humble. He’s going out there to do his job,” Myers said. “He’s not going out there to break any records. I think that he feels satisfied if he helps the team.”
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. His 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. Aaron Rowand also homered for the Phillies, who led 5-0 in the second and 8-2 after five innings and then needed more offense after the Cardinals knocked out 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 NL Central by 3 1/2 games. Manager Tony La Russa’s postgame remarks lasted all of six seconds.
“This won’t take long,” La Russa said. “No part of our club was good enough, including the manager, and I don’t have anything more to say.”
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 8-7.
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 up 18 runs and 32 hits in 18 2-3 innings with St. Louis. He appeared to be visibly sagging as the outing wore on.
“One thing I won’t do is ever give up,” Weaver said. “If that’s the way it looked out there it’s not what I was trying to portray. Obviously, the results were terrible.”
Myers gave up six runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
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.