Chase Utley makes a new human achievement — giving 110 percent
By Cary Osborne
Chase Utley is motivated all the time. I mean all the time.
If you’ve watched him as a Dodger, you have seen the amount of effort he gives on every single play.
But for a guy who gives 100 percent, 100 percent of the time, he may have proved something. There is a such thing as 110 percent.
Ask the Mets after Saturday’s game in New York.
After being thrown at in the third inning by Noah Syndergaard in an obvious retaliation for his slide in Game 2 of last year’s National League Division Series (Syndergaard was immediately thrown out of the game), Utley crushed the Mets’ with two home runs in a 9-1 Dodger win.
Utley hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning off Syndergaard’s replacement Logan Verrett to break a scoreless tie, then he hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh to give the Dodgers some distance with a 6-0 lead.
This follows Utley’s ninth-inning three-run double on Friday to tie the score 5-5 against one of the best closers in the game in Jeurys Familia. The Dodgers lost in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off home run by Curtis Granderson. Saturday was a different story.
And it was appearing more and more like the Mets had moved on and weren’t going to go after Utley, being that this is the penultimate game between the two teams this season.
But Syndergaard dialed up to 99 MPH and threw behind Utley in his second at-bat of the game on Saturday. Later in the game, the ever dialed-in Utley ignited the Dodgers offense.
Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick hit solo home runs in the eighth inning and Corey Seager added one in the ninth making this the second time since 2014 that the Dodgers have hit five homers in a game.
Gonzalez went 4 for 5, his first four-hit game since June 1 last season. He started the day with a .280 batting average and ended it at .295.
It was a nice reward for Kenta Maeda as well, who has struggled in May and had the bad memory of getting taken deep twice by Syndergaard on May 11 and taking the loss in a 4-3 setback for the Dodgers.
In the first inning, the third batter of the game for the Mets, Michael Conforto, lined a single off Maeda’s right hand — his pitching hand. After a short delay, Maeda got right back on the mound and eventually came away with his best outing in a month.
The Mets didn’t get a hit off Maeda after that. He went five innings, walked two and struck out three.
Casey Fien, who was called up from Triple-A in the transaction that saw Julio Urias get sent down after Saturday’s start, struck out the side in the ninth in his Dodger debut.
Now the Dodgers give the ball on Sunday to Clayton Kershaw for a series victory.