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McKenry, Pirates spoil Utley's return

Associated Press Published: June 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael McKenry looks like an everyday player against the Philadelphia Phillies.

McKenry drove in a career-best four runs, including a three-run homer, and the Pittsburgh Pirates spoiled Chase Utley's return by beating the Phillies 11-7 Wednesday night.

Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee also went deep for Pittsburgh. McKenry led the way for Pittsburgh's best offensive performance of the season. Filling in for injured catcher Rod Barajas, McKenry is 9 for 14 with two homers and six RBIs in the first three games of this series.

"I'm seeing the ball well and getting some good swings," McKenry said.

McKenry has raised his average to .238 on 19 hits in just 80 at-bats.

"He's really showed up well," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We needed him."

Utley homered in his first at-bat after missing the first 76 games this year because of a chronic problem in both knees. He had three hits, but it wasn't enough on a night the Phillies got more encouraging news about their injured stars.

Former NL MVP Ryan Howard will start a rehab stint on Thursday night and two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay is making progress and could throw off a bullpen mound next week.

Until they're all healthy, it won't be easy for the five-time defending NL East champions.

James McDonald (7-3) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. It was the first time in 15 starts this season he allowed more than three runs, and his ERA climbed from 2.19 to 2.44.

"I'm proud of the way James responded after the two homers," Hurdle said.

Reliever Raul Valdes (2-1) started for the Phillies, who were out of starters because of a doubleheader Sunday. He allowed three runs and two hits in two innings in his second career start. Joe Savery came in and gave up five runs in 2 2-3 innings.

The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first when Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit back-to-back homers.

Utley drove a 2-2 pitch way out to right-center. He got his third standing ovation in a 15-minute span and came out for a curtain call after circling the bases and getting mobbed by teammates in dugout.

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