Chase Utley's return to Citizens Bank Park 10 days after he announced that he will retire at the end of the season made for some interesting theater Monday night. The ambience was aided by a crowd of 33,753 and Manny Machado's first appearance in Philadelphia since the Los Angeles Dodgers put together the prospect package that gave them the grand prize of this year's trade deadline.
It ended up being a long, hot and disappointing night for the Phils when the Dodgers scored twice in the top of the ninth then held on for a 7-6 victory. Atlanta, meanwhile, won, 12-1, down in Miami to pull even in the NL East standings. Utley, after receiving a standing ovation during the lineup introductions and another before his second-inning at-bat, went hitless in four at-bats.
"Long game," Utley said. "It was intense and a little emotional, especially that first at-bat. I don't know why it's so nerve-racking that first at-bat, but it really is."
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Seranthony Dominguez has been Gabe Kapler's go-to guy in high-leverage situations almost since the moment he joined the team May 7. It was clear Monday night, however, that he was not at his best from the instant he stepped on the mound in the top of the ninth with the Phillies locked in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
"I was having trouble locating my fastball," he said. "I missed some key pitches against some batters. I could have worked the count better, but I didn't have it tonight."
Dominguez walked Alex Verdugo to open the inning, and Joc Pederson followed with a shift-beating single to left field that might have been a double play without the shift. Dominguez struck out Manny Machado, but then walked Max Muncy to load the bases before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Verdugo to score the go-ahead run. It could have just as easily been ruled a passed ball on Jorge Alfaro, but Kapler defended his catcher's defense.
"I watched it on replay," Kapler said. "The ball was sinking away from him. [Alfaro] gave it a good effort. I don't know if it was catchable or not or blockable or not, but it was certainly right on the edge. So it's not one of those things where, 'Ah, he should've caught that ball.' Did not feel that way at all. It was a tough play."
After Dominguez walked Yasmani Grandal to reload the bases, Kapler called in Luis Garcia, who was just reinstated from the disabled list. Garcia gave up an RBI single to Matt Kemp that gave the Dodgers an insurance run, which became crucial when Maikel Franco led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run.
"It looked like there were a couple of pitches that could have gone our way that didn't," Kapler said when asked about Dominguez. "But certainly he wasn't perfectly sharp with his command, and that's going to happen to the best pitchers in baseball."
Scott Lauber's game story pointed out that the past, present and future all came together during the Phillies' Monday night loss to the Dodgers. Chase Utley represented the past, Rhys Hoskins' three-run homer reminded us of how he has become the face and the force of the present Phillies, and Manny Machado made yet another Citizens Bank Park appearance with the fans hoping he'll join the local nine next season after he becomes a free agent. Zach Eflin, however, had a rough start and Seranthony Dominguez struggled in the ninth.
Our Matt Breen tells the cool story of how Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Kike Hernandez has become "a son" to Chase Utley since the two became teammates in 2015. Hernandez shadows "my dad" Utley just about everywhere, including to his Monday news conference with Philadelphia reporters.
Aaron Altherr was sent to triple-A Lehigh Valley after Sunday's doubleheader, and the Phillies' short bench now appears to also be a weak one. Our Scott Lauber reports that could be the place where general manager Matt Klentak seeks help before the July 31 trade deadline with Kansas City's Mike Moustakas and Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar as potential targets.
Tonight: Aaron Nola's first start since all-star game, 7:05 p.m.
Tomrrow: Jake Arrieta gets the start in Chase Utley's final regular-season game at CBP, 12:35 p.m.
Thursday: Start of four-game series against Reds in Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m.
Monday: Start of two-game series against Red Sox at Fenway Park, 7:10 p.m.
Aug. 2: Phils return home against Miami, 7:05 p.m.
Maikel Franco's hot streak continued Monday night as he had three of the Phillies' eight hits, including two more home runs. That gave him 15 homers for the season and made the Phillies one of just three teams in the majors — the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians are the others — with four players who have hit at least 15 home runs. The other three players are Carlos Santana (15), Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera.
Hoskins hit his 17th and third in two days, off Dodgers righthander Ross Stripling, to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, and Herrera followed with his team-leading 18th to give the Phillies a brief 5-4 lead.
Do you see Roman Quinn being recalled soon as an extra outfielder? I can easily see him leading-off, or coming off the bench and stealing a base late in a game. Thank you.
Greg S., via email