Utley's Walk-Off Homer Lifts Phillies
Sep. 04, 2006
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Chase Utley's home run with two outs in the 10th inning gave the Philadelphia Phillies a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Monday.
After both teams wasted opportunities to win late in the game, Utley his 25th homer to right off Dave Borkowski (1-2). The second baseman was mobbed by his teammates and helped the Phillies snap a 12-game losing streak to Houston that dated back to May 18, 2003.
Rick White (3-1) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win, retiring the final two batters he faced to leave a runner stranded on third. The Phillies entered 1 1/2 games back of San Diego in the NL wild card standings.
Roger Clemens left his 15th start of the season with a strained right groin after allowing only one hit in five innings. The Houston right-hander was 6-4 with a 2.29 ERA coming into the game. He gave up one run, struck out six and walked two. The Astros said he is day-to-day.
Charlton Jimerson hit a pinch-hit home run in his first major league at-bat for the Astros and Ryan Howard hit his major-league leading 53rd homer for the Phillies.
It was the second straight extra-inning game for the Phillies, who lost to Atlanta in 11 innings in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Philadelphia also played back-to-back doubleheaders over the weekend, and came right back for a 3:05 p.m. EDT start Monday.
Howard's 53rd homer of the season off Russ Springer in the sixth knocked off the facing of the second deck in right field. Much like when he homered in his first three at-bats against Atlanta in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, Howard earned a standing ovation and chants of ``M-V-P!'' as he rounded the bases.
Howard also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Cole Hamels was absolutely fantastic again, retiring the first 17 batters and pitching like the future ace the Phillies expect him to be. The hard-throwing lefty was working the corners and getting strikes on fastballs, then finishing batters off with offspeed pitches.
He struck out the side in the fifth, with Jason Lane thinking he walked, only to get racked up on the slow stuff. As Hamels walked off the mound, the fans in the first few rows stood and applauded.
Hamels seemed poised to close out the Astros and record his eighth win until Aubrey Huff hit a solo shot leading off the eighth, tying the score at 2.
The Phillies touched Clemens for a run in the fourth, but missed their chance for a big inning went their bats went limp in the clutch. Clemens fanned Pat Burrell on a called strike at the knees with the bases loaded. He hit Jeff Conine in the left shoulder to make it 1-0, but Chris Coste grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Jimerson pinch-hit for Clemens with two outs in the sixth inning and broke up Hamels' perfect game with a home run in his first major league at-bat. Jimerson hit a shot to deep center field near Ashburn Alley, the outfield entertainment area.
Notes: The Phillies recalled LHP Matt Smith from Single-A Clearwater and he pitched a scoreless ninth. Smith was acquired from the Yankees as part of the Bobby Abreu deal. Smith made two appearances at Clearwater and struck out all six batters he faced. ... The game was a sellout with a crowd of 44,674, including more than 10,000 tickets sold on Monday.