PHILADELPHIA -- When ball met bat, Giancarlo Stanton's first inclination was to shuffle his feet. Miami's rightfielder gazed Monday at Chase Utley's laser hit and decided two steps were enough. The ball smashed against a beer advertisement against the second deck's facade and clanged loud enough for everyone to hear.
Utley's first home run in nearly a month energized a 12-2 rout of the moribund Marlins. The Phillies were merely pleased to see Utley and hear Led Zeppelin blast on Citizens Bank Park's speakers. This marked Utley's 120th game, his most since 2009.
The Phillies destroyed Sam Dyson, a minor-league pitcher making his first major-league start. Cliff Lee accrued two more RBIs (four) than runs allowed (two) in eight innings. He was the first Phillies pitcher since Phil Collins in 1930 with three hits and four RBIs in a game. Against baseball's worst offense, he struck out 14.
Dyson faced 18 batters and allowed 10 to reach base. Seven scored. He was relieved by another rookie, Arquimedes Caminero, whose parents named him from a math textbook. Nothing more was expected of the Marlins in September.
After Utley's three-run blast, Domonic Brown singled and later scored when he barreled into Miami catcher Jeff Mathis on a Cody Asche single. The Phillies sent 10 men to the plate in the third.
They invested $25 million in Utley beyond 2013 because his knees have proved durable this season. His production is steady month after month.
"You know what's been impressive about Chase over the last month? His ability to use the whole field," interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's gotten a few more hits to left-center field. He's gotten some hits on the left-field line."
Utley's homer, his 17th and most since 2009, was pulled to right with vigor. His on-base percentage has dropped because of fewer times hit by a pitch, but Utley's power stroke has returned. An .819 OPS ranks fourth among all major-league second basemen.
Those are numbers that will be hard to duplicate; Jeff Kent is the only second baseman 35 or older since 2001 to post an .800 OPS. Utley turns 35 in December.
When Lee scored in the fifth inning, he was feted with a standing ovation for his hitting. He bashed a 385-foot triple into the wind. He slapped a two-run single in the third-inning party. The Phillies' 12th run scored on another Lee single in the seventh. There was joy in the late-season ravaging of an inferior team.
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