Tuesday night marked Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley‘s first game back in Philadelphia since the Phillies traded him to the Dodgers in August 2015. Utley, selected by the Phillies in the first round of the 2000 draft, spent parts of 13 seasons with the club, helping them win the World Series in 2008 and win the NL East in five consecutive seasons from 2007-11.
Unsurprisingly, Utley got a hero’s welcome from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park when he stepped to the plate to lead off Tuesday night’s game. He received a standing ovation that lasted nearly a minute and a half.
[mlbvideo id=”1057722683″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
The crowd shortly thereafter booed home plate umpire Ron Kulpa when he called a strike against him. Utley would strike out looking.
Utley stepped to the plate for the third time in the top of the fifth inning and drilled a Vincent Velasquez fastball for a no-doubt solo home run to right-center field, pushing the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1. As he normally does, Utley motored around the bases. Despite wearing a Dodgers uniform, the fans at Citizens Bank Park gave him a standing ovation.
[mlbvideo id=”1058160983″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
After Utley returned to the dugout, the crowd wanted a curtain call and Utley did not disappoint.
The last four years of Utley’s time in Philly were marred by injuries, but from 2005 to ’09, the only player to rack up more Wins Above Replacement than Utley (38.4) was Albert Pujols (40.7; won three MVP awards in this span), according to FanGraphs. It’s easy to see why he has become such an icon.
Update (9:45 PM EDT): Utley hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning, boosting the Dodgers’ lead to 13-2. He gave the cheering crowd another curtain call.