Utley and Sanchez Get Into It, Have A History
Benches cleared in the third inning tonight in Game 6 of the NLCS after Jonathan Sanchez drilled Chase Utley in the back with a pitch. Utley picked up the ball and flipped it toward the mound as he ran to first base.
Sanchez yelled at Utley, calling it “bull (bleep).”
Utley, who was standing on first base, leaned in toward Sanchez and said, “What’s bull (bleep)?” and shooed Sanchez. But benches cleared, although no punches were thrown. The Giants replaced Sanchez with left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who worked out of a jam to keep the game tied.
Utley and Sanchez have a history. Here is a excerpt from a story I wrote July 30, 2009, at AT&T Park:
The only drama for the Phillies came in the sixth inning when Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez threw a first-pitch fastball over Chase Utley’s head.
“I don’t know,” Utley said. “I guess you’re going to have to ask him.”
“I lost my release point,” Sanchez said. “It was supposed to be away. I didn’t try to hit him. I have nothing against him.”
Utley looked at Sanchez and took a quick step toward the mound, but kept his composure and remained at home plate. Utley never exchanged words with Sanchez, but the pitch clearly agitated him. Two pitches later, Utley called time and stepped out of the batter’s box just before Sanchez delivered a pitch. Sanchez threw the ball into the ground, which rolled to home plate.
“I wasn’t ready and he started his wind up,” Utley said. “I just wanted to make sure that I was ready to hit.”
Utley got the last laugh.
Sanchez threw a 2-2 fastball, which Utley drilled over the right-field wall for a solo home run.
“The last thing you want that to do is affect your at-bat,” Utley said. “Anytime you’re successful at the plate there’s a little satisfaction, but I’m disappointed that we didn’t play that well tonight.”
“Utley answered him the right way,” said Manuel, who did not think Sanchez threw at Utley intentionally with a 7-1 lead.