Ryan Howard and Chase Utley homering in the same game brought back memories for Phillies fans.
This time, though, Utley went deep twice as an opponent and got curtain calls after each of his two home runs -- including a grand slam -- in his first game at Citizens Bank Park since last season's trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Howard marveled at the reaction to one of Philadelphia's most beloved athletes.
"It just goes to show the body of work he's done here, the respect that the fans have had for what he was able to accomplish here and help us to be able to accomplish," Howard said. "I thought it was very classy by the fans."
Utley acknowledged the fans' reaction.
"It's completely overwhelming," Utley said. "The standing ovation my first at-bat is something I'll never forget. It was truly special."
Utley was a six-time All-Star in 13 seasons as Philadelphia's second baseman, helping the team win five straight NL East titles and the 2008 World Series. Fans showed their appreciation with four standing ovations.
"It's something you can't really describe in words," Utley said. "It's a special feeling to see the fans show that much support."
In the fifth, Utley hit a two-out solo homer off Vince Velasquez (8-5) and raced around the bases in customary fashion. Fans clamored for a rare curtain call by a visiting player, and Utley obliged to another standing ovation.
In the seventh, Utley hit a grand slam off Michael Mariot, and fans again cheered him back out of the dugout. It was Utley's seventh career grand slam. His first career hit was a grand slam at Veterans Stadium.
"It's just good to be back," he said. "I tried to downplay it as much as possible, but it's been something I've been looking forward to for a long time."
Howard launched his 375th career homer with a blast to center in the seventh. It brought back memories of when he and Utley used to produce monstrous numbers batting third and fourth for the Phillies.
"It was against us, so it was a little bittersweet," Utley said. "But anytime Ryan hits a home run I'm definitely happy when Ryan is successful. He's one of my better friends. I'm happy he's playing well."
Likewise, Howard was glad to see Utley have success in his return. And even though Utley's cap was blue, Howard always will consider him a teammate.
"He's always going to be a Phillie at heart, and I think he's always going to be a Phillie to everybody here," Howard said.
Utley's presence put a buzz in Philadelphia's ballpark during what's been a lackluster season. Fans applauded when he jogged to the outfield for warmups, and he twice stopped to sign autographs between conversations with former teammate Ryan Howard in center field. There were signs throughout the ballpark welcoming Utley back.
"We had a lot of great times here at this stadium," Utley said prior to the game. "I spent so much time here, so many great memories. I can't really say enough about the support I received. Obviously we had some great players and great coaches, but the fans kind of took us to the next level."
As Utley hit leadoff wearing his familiar No. 26, public address announcer Dan Baker introduced him to shouts and applause, including from players on both teams. Utley doffed his helmet and waved to the crowd, and when he tried to step to the plate, fans continued their ovation. Plate umpire Ron Kulpa moved to clean home plate while Utley stepped out again, touching his heart and raising his fist in appreciation.
"I truly believe without their support and without them pushing us to be better, we would not have had the team that we had," Utley said of the fans.
Utley was traded last Aug. 19 and never got a chance to acknowledge the fans because the trade wasn't finalized until after the game that night.
"I didn't really have an opportunity to say goodbye," Utley said. "If I were to write up a script (last year), it would have gone a bit differently."
He departed the Phillies after playing 1,551 games, compiling 1,623 hits, 142 homers and 916 RBIs. Utley remains one of the most beloved Philadelphia athletes ever for his talent, hustle and grit.
"There are so many times I'd meet a father with his son, or even a mother, who would praise the way I played and would tell me they want their son to play that way," Utley said. "To me, that's a true compliment."
VELASQUEZ LOSES AGAIN
Velasquez gave up five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to fall to 0-3 with a 6.03 ERA in his last six starts.
MAEDA WINS AGAIN
Kenta Maeda (12-7) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings with nine strikeouts and one walk for the Dodgers, who began Tuesday a half-game back of the Giants in the NL West and leading the NL wild-card race by 3 1/2 games.
KENDRICK, GRANDAL HOMER
Howie Kendrick had four hits, including a home run and a triple, and drove in three runs and Yasmani Grandal homered and had three hits for Los Angeles.
Phillies: Velasquez appeared to be favoring his left side in his final inning. He limped off the field when manager Pete Mackanin removed him from the game. Velasquez had a stint on the DL from June 10-27 for a right biceps injury.
Dodgers LHP Scott Kazmir (9-6, 4.44) faces Phillies RHP Jake Thompson (1-1, 8.68) in the second matchup of the three-game series.