(Wednesday, June 27th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 11, Philadelphia 7
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It didn't take long for Chase Utley to make an impact, but the Pirates sullied the All-Star second baseman's return to Philadelphia with an 11-7 victory over the Phillies.
Utley, sidelined for the Phillies' first 76 games due to a chronic knee condition, finished with three hits and brought the Citizens Bank Park crowd to its feet by homering in his first at-bat.
Carlos Ruiz followed Utley's blast with one of his own, putting Philadelphia in good standing for its first three-game win streak this month.
But Pittsburgh's offense took advantage of the porous Phillies' bullpen. Michael McKenry homered and drove in four runs, Casey McGehee belted a solo shot and Neil Walker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Andrew McCutchen added a two-run homer off Chad Qualls in the eighth after the hosts pulled within a run, sealing a win for starter James McDonald (7-3), who allowed four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 frames.
Philadelphia, out of starting pitching options as a result of Sunday's doubleheader, had six relievers combine to allow 14 hits. Raul Valdes (2-1) was the first on the hill and yielded three runs on two hits and a pair of walks in two innings to take the loss.
Utley received a standing ovation when he made his way to the plate in the first inning, and the commotion grew louder when McDonald hung a breaking ball and Utley crushed it deep into the seats in right-center.
"I was excited to be out there. It's been a long road to get to this point," Utley said. "I had a lot of emotions and a lot of adrenaline. The crowd definitely helped out.
McDonald, who had given up just four homers in 14 starts coming in, yielded another round-tripper to Ruiz five pitches later.
The tide turned in Pittsburgh's favor the next inning. Walker earned a walk and Jose Tabata kept the inning alive with a two-out single in front of McKenry, who turned on a payoff pitch for his second homer in as many nights.
"I was very proud of the way we responded," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
McGehee opened the fourth with a home run to straightaway center off Joe Savery, and McDonald knocked in Walker with a two-out base hit later in the inning.
Run-scoring singles from Walker, Tabata and McKenry in the fifth extended the margin to 8-2, but the Phillies inched closer when Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino each plated a run in the sixth.
The score tightened in the seventh, which started with the Phillies putting their first five hitters on base. Jimmy Rollins tripled in a run, Juan Pierre knocked in another and Ruiz cut the deficit to 8-7 with an RBI single.
Brad Lincoln came in on relief and retired the middle of Philadelphia's order -- Pence, Victorino and pinch-hitter Jim Thome -- in succession to end the threat.
Qualls was unable to keep it close in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Alex Presley earned a leadoff walk and scored on Drew Sutton's double off the right-field wall, and McCutchen followed with his 14th home run of the year.
"We have to get our bullpen straightened out. You see it. We see it. They know it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Utley is not expected to play in the finale of the four-game series Thursday afternoon...McDonald had not allowed more than three runs in any start this season...Philadelphia hasn't won three in a row since a four-game win streak from May 23-26...This was Valdes' second career start...Philadelphia's bullpen ranked 12th in the National League with a 4.46 ERA coming in...The Pirates won for just the third time in their last 19 games at Citizens Bank Park.
06/28 00:09:52 ET