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PHI@CHC: Utley hammers solo home run to right-center

The Phillies hope to have the National League's hottest hitter back in the lineup Wednesday when their home-opening series continues against the Brewers.

Chase Utley missed Tuesday's home opener with the flu and was sent home from the ballpark to avoid infecting teammates. He played through illness on Sunday in Chicago, going 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI groundout. Utley's 1.369 on-base plus slugging percentage leads the National League.

"Hopefully we can get it out of his system with some rest," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

Utley had to be convinced to go home.

"Yeah, just the fact that he came in and had a hard time telling me how he was feeling," Sandberg said. "But yeah, he was sick as a dog, actually. I told him to go home. He wasn't looking good at all."

If he is able to play, Utley's hot start -- he is hitting .458 with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and three walks in six games -- would go on the line against Brewers right-hander Matt Garza, who is set for his second Milwaukee start. Utley is 2-for-10 with a double and homer in his career against the former Ray, Cub and Ranger.

Garza was sensational in his Brewers debut last week, when both he and Braves starter Aaron Harang carried no-hitters into the seventh inning. Garza was first to blink when he surrendered a two-out home run to Chris Johnson, and the Braves won, 1-0.

Still, Garza's outing was viewed as a success: eight innings, two hits, one run, one walk, seven strikeouts.

"If he pitches like that all year, that's just going to be -- he's going to have a Cy Young year," Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer said.

Right-hander Roberto Hernandez will start for the Phillies.

Brewers: Starting pitching leads the way
• Kyle Lohse struggled through five innings against the Phillies on Tuesday but held them to three runs in five innings. Through seven games, no Brewers starter has allowed more than three earned runs in an outing. Even with Lohse's mediocre performance, Brewers starters' composite ERA is 2.08.

"Our pitching has been pretty good, the bullpen and the starters," general manager Doug Melvin said. "It gives us a chance, every game, to win."

Phillies: Looking for fifth starter
• Cole Hamels could rejoin the Phillies rotation as early as April 21, but they need a fifth starter for the first time this season Saturday against the Marlins.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said before the game they have a few options. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Sunday right-handers Jonathan Pettibone and David Buchanan are candidates. Right-hander Jeff Manship is in the bullpen and has started in the past.

Sandberg said they will make a decision in the next day or two.

Pettibone pitched Sunday, while Buchanan pitched Tuesday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, so the Phillies would be asking Buchanan to make his big league debut on short rest. Buchanan, who was a bright spot in Spring Training, also is not on the 40-man roster, so they would need to make room for him.

Worth noting
• Carlos Ruiz started a game in the No. 3 spot for the first time in his career Tuesday, while Utley was out with the flu.

• Hamels is scheduled to make his second rehab start Friday with Class A Clearwater.

• The only Brewers hitter with considerable at-bats against Hernandez is Lyle Overbay, who is 3-for-16. Comments