Utley goes 3-for-5 with a homer in key NL East game

Hero: Utley missed a month due to hand surgery after being hit by a pitch. He upped his average to .339 and fell a triple short of the cycle.

Injury update: The Mets also activated catcher Paul Lo Duca, and he went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Quotable: "He's an excellent player. I'm not looking forward to seeing him." -- Mets manager Willie Randolph on Utley

-- ESPN.com news services

Phillies 9, Mets 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Chase Utley got a standing ovation, a curtain call and heard "M-V-P" chants.

Not a bad way to return from the disabled list.

Utley had three hits, including a solo homer, in his first game since having hand surgery one month ago, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 9-2 Monday night in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.

J.D. Durbin had a career-high six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings, Pat Burrell and pinch-hitter Tadahito Iguchi hit two-run homers and Jayson Werth was 4-for-4, helping the Phillies move within five games of the NL East-leading Mets.

"Tonight was one night. You never know what can happen," Utley said. "You can find a hole here or there. The main thing is to contribute to the team."

Utley quickly found his stroke and finished the game leading the NL with a .339 average. He was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, falling a triple short of the cycle. The All-Star second baseman missed 28 games after he was struck by a pitch from Washington's John Lannan on July 26. The gritty Utley finished that game, but the next day had a pin inserted into his hand to stabilize a broken right ring finger.

Utley got a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning and earned a curtain call after homering in the fifth. Fans chanted "M-V-P" after his RBI double in the sixth. He singled in the seventh.

"It turned out pretty well," Utley said. "It definitely felt good to be out there."

Durbin (6-3) allowed two runs and six hits. The right-hander is one of 12 pitchers to start for the injury-depleted Phillies this season.

Mets starter Brian Lawrence (1-2) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He has a 6.31 ERA in five starts.

"I've been disappointed the last couple games," Lawrence said. "I'm a ground ball pitcher and balls have been finding holes."

Durbin retired the first 12 batters before Carlos Beltran doubled to right-center to start the fifth. Paul Lo Duca's single with two outs drove in Beltran. Lo Duca went to third on Shawn Green's single to right and scored on Lawrence's sharp infield single to cut it to 3-2.

But the Phillies answered with two runs in the bottom half on Utley's 18th homer and an RBI single by Greg Dobbs.

"He's an excellent player," Mets manager Willie Randolph said of Utley. "I'm not looking forward to seeing him."

Jimmy Rollins singled and scored on Utley's 42nd double to make it 6-2 in the sixth. Utley tied Bert Niehoff for the team record for doubles by a second baseman in a season.

Werth gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI double. He has nine straight hits over two games. The NL record for consecutive hits is 10, accomplished by 10 different players.

"I'm focused on what I'm trying to do and I feel comfortable," Werth said.

Burrell's two-run homer put Philadelphia ahead 3-0 in the third. Chris Coste had an RBI double in the seventh and Iguchi followed with his second career pinch-hit homer.

By that time, fans were chanting "Let's Go Phillies," a rare departure from the typical "E-A-G-L-E-S" chants at Citizens Bank Park. As usual, many Mets fans were in the crowd and a few fights drew loud cheers.

Game notes
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel earned his seventh ejection of the season in the first inning for arguing a close play at first base. ... Mets 3B David Wright was ejected after striking out in the ninth. ... Burrell has 38 homers and 97 RBIs in his career against the Mets. ... Utley's homer snapped an 0-for-8 against Lawrence. ... Werth started in RF for Shane Victorino, who was out of the lineup for the third straight game after tweaking a calf injury. Victorino entered in the seventh. Someone placed "W. Pipp" above his nameplate at his locker. "That's funny," Victorino said. ... Lo Duca returned for the Mets after a hamstring injury landed him on the 15-day DL.