Utley got off on the right foot in the Phillies loss. (AP)
A near-cycle from Chase Utley wasn’t enough to overcome a shaky start from Cole Hamels as the Braves held off the Phillies, 7-5.
UTLEY UNLOADS ON OPENING DAY
-What a day for Chase Utley. In the fourth, Tim Hudson tossed a sinker that hung up in the zone and Utley tagged it to dead center field, over 400 feet away for the first homer of the season for the Phillies.
-In the fifth, Utley slapped a single to right that scored Cole Hamels and Ben Revere, moving the Phillies to within a run at 4-3. Beyond the single, Utley came hard out of the box and advanced to second base on the throw that went to third, where Jimmy Rollins had advanced on the hit.
-In the seventh, Utley tripled on a wormburner through the right-center gap. Really, it should have been a double, but Utley ran like his ass was on fire and made it just ahead of the throw. Ryan Howard sent him home on a ground out. Utley would finish 3-for-5 with three RBI.
-The offense was able to do enough to chase Tim Hudson from the game after just 4 1/3 innings. Hudson allowed three runs, walked three, and struck out three.
-Michael Young was 0-for-2 but did walk twice. Domonic Brown went 1-for-3 with walk.
HAMELS CAN’T SETTLE
-In what was the first start of his career on Opening Day, Cole Hamels was unable to bring his spring success with him to Atlanta. Hamels lacked command early which led to a monster, two-run home run by Freddie Freeman and a solo shot by Dan Uggla in the first two frames. Justin Upton also crushed a 460-foot homer to left-center field in the fifth inning on a pitch that was right down the middle.
-Cole’s final line: 5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 5 earned, 1 BB, 5K (89 pitches/58 strikes)
-Hamels had runners on base in each inning and lacked control with all of his pitches, which is something he tends to struggle with during his first start. Coming into the game, in his first start during the last four seasons(09-12), Hamels had given up 18 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, a 10.00 ERA. Similar struggles in start no.1 of 2013 tonight.
-Chad Durbin took over for Hamels in the sixth and did not record an out. He allowed two hits and a walk and two runners scored. Durbin is being looked at at the lead seventh inning reliever leading up to Adams and Papelbon, but after an ugly spring, you have to wonder how long his leash will be. It was not long on this night.
Wednesday: Cliff Lee vs. Paul Maholm