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Utley ends hitless skid, slowly raises average

PHILADELPHIA -- Maybe Chase Utley can start fresh Thursday.

The Phillies' second baseman singled to right-center field in the first inning Wednesday night in a 6-1 loss to the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. It snapped a hitless streak of 21 at-bats, which was the second-longest hitless streak of his career.

"It always feels good to hit where they aren't playing," Utley said. "We'll continue to try to make some improvements and move on."

Utley had a career-high hitless streak of 24 at-bats in June 2008. He also had a 0-for-18 slump in July-August 2014, which means two of his three longest hitless streaks have come since last year's All-Star Game.

But the first-inning single Wednesday did not open the offensive flood gates. Utley grounded out in the fourth, struck out swinging with a runner on third to end the sixth and grounded out to the pitcher in the ninth to end the game.

Utley also dropped a throw from Cody Asche at second base with two outs in the top of the eighth. It allowed the Marlins to load the bases and eventually score four insurance runs.

"He made a good throw," Utley said. "I missed it. Bottom line, that play needs to be made."

Utley entered the night hitting .109, which was the second-lowest batting average out of 193 qualified hitters in baseball. He had not gotten a hit since he homered in the eighth inning April 14 against the Mets at Citi Field.

Bad luck had something to do with it. He entered the night last in baseball with a .079 batting average on balls in play. The average player had a .289 BABIP. Still, the Phillies need much more from their No. 3 hitter.

Asked if the hitless streak had been on his mind, Utley said, "It's not the first time I've haven't had some hits. So I don't know."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter.
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