PHILADELPHIA — With veteran Chase Utley the latest former star headed out of Philadelphia as the team rebuilds, it was a couple of rookies who lifted the Phillies to a victory Wednesday night.
Aaron Altherr homered, doubled and drove in three runs and fellow rookie Adam Morgan pitched seven strong innings and Philadelphia beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-4.
Jeff Francoeur and Andres Blanco also homered for Philadelphia, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
“It was awesome” Altherr said. “It was good to be out there and get that first hit out of the way. I hope I can just keep producing up here and helping the team win.”
Utley did a lot of winning with the Phillies, but didn’t contribute Wednesday even though he was in uniform and in the dugout. After the game the deal was made official with the six-time All-Star second baseman going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Triple-A outfielder Darnell Sweeney and Single-A right-hander John Richy.
Utley, who has a history of knee injuries, recently returned from the disabled list after missing more than a month because of right ankle inflammation.
Utley has a hit in eight straight games while batting .484 since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 7. He received a standing ovation after celebrating on the field after the game and doffed his hat in appreciation.
Asked why Utley didn’t play, interim manager Pete Mackanin said, “Under the circumstances I didn’t want anything crazy to happen.”
After trading Cole Hamels at the July deadline and Jimmy Rollins last off-season, only Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz remain from Philadelphia’s 2008 championship team.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the wild-card leading Blue Jays, who fell two games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. Toronto lost for just the fourth time in its last 20 games.
“It’s a logjam right now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’ve got to get back in it. Somebody else could, also. It’s good baseball.”
Mark Buehrle (13-6) had his shortest outing of the season, giving up four runs and seven hits in four innings. Since May 29, Buehrle hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last 13 starts while going at least seven innings in 11 of those games.
Buehrle, though, felt he pitched well.
“I wish I could have a lot of these nights,” he said. “My location was good. I thought my stuff was better than my last four outings. Just bad luck. I had a bad start, but I was making my pitches.”
Morgan (4-4) surrendered two runs and five hits while striking out three without a walk in seven innings.
“I really didn’t try to do anything special, just stick to my strengths and move the ball in and out, front and back,” Morgan said. “They made some great plays behind me in the outfield, and timely. Overall it was a great team win.”
Ken Giles pitched a scoreless ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 16 straight games with a homer leading off the fifth. It gave the Blue Jays at least one home run in 11 straight road games while bringing them within 4-1. Cliff Pennington’s RBI double in the inning made it 4-2.
The Phillies scored three runs in the fifth off Bo Schultz. Blanco led off with a drive over the wall in right, and Altherr hit a two-run shot to left to put Philadelphia in front 7-2.
The Blue Jays got two runs back in the eighth without a hit. They were helped by two walks from Luis Garcia and second baseman Cesar Hernandez’s error.
The Phillies jumped on Buehrle for three runs in the first on Francoeur’s sacrifice fly, Darin Ruf’s RBI single and a run-scoring double by Altherr. It was the first career hit for the 24-year-old Altherr, a 2009 ninth-round draft pick who was called up to fill the roster spot of Maikel Franco after the rookie third baseman was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with a fractured left wrist.
Philadelphia won for just the second time in the last 12 games against Toronto.
TAKE IT TO THE BANK
Francoeur gave Philadelphia a 4-0 lead with a two-out homer in the third, the fifth in his last nine games at Citizens Bank Park.
Blue Jays OF Kevin Pillar is 8 for his last 56 (.143) after going 0 for 4.
Blue Jays: After Thursday’s day off, Toronto plays the first of three at the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night with LHP David Price (11-4, 2.41) facing LHP Hector Santiago (7-6, 2.86).
Phillies: Philadelphia opens a four-game series at Miami on Thursday night with RHP Jerome Williams (4-8, 5.47) opposing LHP Brad Hand (2-3, 4.74).