Utley hit a go-ahead, three-run double and scored from second on an infield grounder during an eight-run seventh inning that led the Phillies past the Atlanta Braves 9-3 Wednesday.
Completing a 6-3 trip, the second-place Phillies approached .500 at 55-58.
“People have given up on us about 10 times, but you never know with the wild-card race,” left-hander Randy Wolf said.
Philadelphia won two of three from the Braves and is 15-11 since the All-Star break. The Phillies began the day 3 1/2 games back in the NL wild-card race.
Wolf gave up three runs—two earned—and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. He made his third start since elbow-ligament replacement surgery on July 1, 2005.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said the return of Wolf “is very big.” Wolf combines with Cole Hamels to give the Phillies two left-handers in the rotation.
“I like what I see of Randy,” Manuel said.
Trailing 3-1, the Phillies sent 14 batters to the plate in the seventh, getting six hits and four walks. An error by third baseman Willy Aybar led to three unearned runs.
Philadelphia set its season high for runs in an inning.
“Who gives up eight runs in an inning?” Braves manager Bobby Cox asked. “Nobody.”
Actually, it was the second time this season the Braves allowed eight runs in an inning—they did it July 7 in a 10-5 loss to Cincinnati.
The half-inning lasted about 45 minutes.
“It seemed like two hours,” Braves second baseman Marcus Giles said.
Rick White (2-0) got the final two outs in the sixth inning after taking over for Wolf.
Tyler Yates (1-3), the first of four Atlanta relievers in the seventh, gave up four runs, one hit and three walks. Andruw Jones homered for the Braves, and starter Chuck James struck out six in six innings, allowing one run, five hits and no walks.
Jones’ 28th homer put Atlanta ahead in the fifth, but Pat Burrell’s 23rd homer tied the score in the sixth. After Wolf allowed a pair of singles in the sixth, Jeff Francoeur hit an RBI single off White with two outs, and third baseman Abraham Nunez bobbled Matt Diaz’s grounder for a run-scoring error that made it 3-1.
Running from second on the pitch, Utley scored on Ryan Howard’s groundout.
“I think he always amazes everybody,” Wolf said of Utley. “He’s just that type of player. He plays hard every inning, every out.”
Utley was behind in the count before hitting the double to center.
“When the bases are loaded, there’s no place to put you,” Utley said. “They have to pitch to you. … Those three runs were pretty big at that point.”
Mike Lieberthal’s grounder bounced past Aybar for an error, allowing Burrell to score. Nunez added a run-scoring single for his second hit of the inning, and Jimmy Rollins drew a bases-loaded walk from Chad Paronto.
Rollins had two hits and two walks. … The Braves wore red jerseys normally reserved for home Sunday games. … Jones is second in the NL with 98 RBIs. … The Phillies had a streak of homers in 16 consecutive games snapped Tuesday night before they returned to form with Burrell’s homer. The 16-game streak tied the club record set in 2002.