Utley extends hitting streak to 35 as Phillies steamroll Cards

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The game was just a few minutes old when Chase Utley singled to extend his hitting streak to 35 games. Quite a

contrast from the suspense the previous night when he needed five

at-bats to keep it going.

Utley singled in the first inning to keep his run alive, then

added two more hits in the Philadelphia Phillies' 8-1 victory over

the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

"Last night when he gets that first hit we're all jumping up

and down screaming," pitcher Cole Hamels said. "Your voice kind

of leaves you for a bit because you're so excited.

"Just to get it out of the way in the first at-bat, everybody

is just so pumped, and then I think everybody can relax after


Elias Says

Chase Utley
Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 35 games, equaling the longest in major-league history by a second baseman. Luis Castillo set the record in 2002, when he surpassed the 33-game streak of Rogers Hornsby that had stood as the record for 80 years.

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Utley, held hitless until the eighth inning Wednesday before

reaching on an infield single that was initially ruled a fielder's

choice, is tied with three other players for the 10th-longest

streak in major league history.

"I didn't have to wait too long tonight," manager Charlie

Manuel said. "I just sit and watch him hit, and pull like hell for


The Phillies finished off a three-game sweep and sent the NL

Central leaders to their seventh straight loss. The Cardinals lost

a season-high eight in a row in June.

"It'd be hard to do worse than we're doing right now," manager

Tony La Russa said. "We're not even getting to the ninth inning

with a chance to win."

Hamels, a 22-year-old rookie, matched his career best by

striking out 12 in seven innings. He allowed only two singles and a

run, and fanned a dozen for the second time in three games.

One of his strikeout victims was Albert Pujols, who singled in

three at-bats against the Phillies' phenom.

"I do know he's a good hitter, but when I step on that mound

it's my game," Hamels said. "I'm going to go out there and I'm

going to pitch my own game, and I'm not going to let anybody else

affect that."

Another rookie, 33-year-old Chris Coste, had the first four-hit

game of his career and drove in two runs. Aaron Rowand homered for

the Phillies, who had 16 hits a night after getting 18 in a 16-8


Philadelphia has won six of seven overall, and is 3-1 since

trading Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees.

"I don't know if there's a way to explain it," said Ryan

Howard, who was 7-for-12 with seven RBI in the series. "I don't

think anybody here is trying to look for an explanation of what's

going on, but to just keep going out and trying to keep what we've

got going, going."

Scott Rolen drove in the Cardinals' run with a sacrifice fly in

the fourth.

Jason Marquis (12-9) worked six innings and allowed four runs on

nine hits while throwing 118 pitches. The Cardinals used eight

pitchers the previous night.

"Obviously, the results aren't what I was looking for,"

Marquis said. "Some days you have it and some days you don't."

Marquis retired the first two batters before Utley, batting .405

(62-for-153) during his streak and .330 overall, lined a 2-2 pitch

to center. He took second when So Taguchi bobbled the ball before

throwing late.

Utley hit an RBI single off first base in the third to give the

Phillies a 1-0 lead, making him 6-for-11 against Marquis. Utley has

at least two hits in six of his last seven games, batting .411

(14-for-34) with seven RBI in that span.

Utley's streak is the second longest in franchise history,

trailing only Jimmy Rollins' 38-game run. Rollins hit in the final

36 games last season and the first two this year before he went

0-for-4 against Marquis and reliever Josh Hancock.

Luis Castillo of Florida (2002), Ty Cobb of Detroit (1917) and

Fred Clarke of Louisville (1895) also had 35-game streaks.

Utley is tied with Castillo for the major league record for a

second baseman. The Phillies play Friday night in New York.

The major league record is 56 consecutive games by the Yankees'

Joe DiMaggio in 1941.

Hamels (4-5) began the game by walking David Eckstein, then

struck out the next four batters. The Cardinals finally put a ball

in play on his 30th pitch when Scott Spiezio flied out to center.

Hamels fanned Rolen, Ronnie Belliard, Juan Encarnacion and Marquis

twice each.

The Cardinals didn't get a hit until the fourth when Belliard

singled for his first hit in three games with his new team,

advanced to third on a single by Pujols and scored on Rolen's fly

to make it 3-1.

Hamels has 44 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings in his last five

starts and also fanned 12 Braves on July 24, although he allowed

seven runs in 5 1/3 innings and lost that game.

Utley, Howard and Coste each had an RBI single in the second to

put the Phillies ahead 3-0. Three straight singles in the fifth,

the last by Coste, made it 4-1, and Rowand doubled in the seventh,

stole third and scored on catcher Gary Bennett's wild throw.Game notes
Belliard was 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and two double

plays before singling in the fourth for his first hit with the

Cardinals. He also had a successful squeeze bunt on Tuesday. ...

The Cardinals' Nos. 1 and 2 hitters were a combined 2-for-22 in the

series. ... The Phillies have won 10 of the last 15 games against

the Cardinals. ... Philadelphia is the only unbeaten NL team when

leading after eight innings, going 46-0.