PITTSBURGH - As Chase Utley dove to his left to record the final out of Roy Halladay's seven innings with a brilliant catch, Halladay pumped his right fist and screamed to no one in particular. He walked into the dugout, went straight toward Utley and saluted him for the grab.
Halladay has called Utley "the Derek Jeter of the National League," and the effect the second baseman's presence has had for the Phillies the last three weeks is not lost on the ace.
"You know he's always going to run balls out," Halladay said. "He'll be diving for balls. He's going to give you the best at-bat every time. He's never going to give an at-bat away. It's his professionalism, the way he goes about things. To be one of the best players and still go about it the right way, like he got called up a couple of days ago, to me that's what stands out. You need guys like that who are successful players who continue to grind things out. It sets a tone."
Utley had his best game since returning from the disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee, going 3 for 5 with a walk and a run scored in the Phillies' 7-3 win over the Pirates. His catch in the seventh prevented a run from scoring in a two-run game.
He is hitting .239 (11 for 46) with only two extra-base hits, but Charlie Manuel is impressed with what he has seen so far.
"I think his condition is a little bit better than I thought it was," Manuel said.
Utley, though, has yet to play more than three days in a row. That first test could come Monday. Manuel said he will talk with Utley when they arrive for the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.
"The bigger [test] is when he plays four or five days in a row," Manuel said. "Three days right now is pretty good for him because he hasn't played that much. He's getting better. His swing's coming."
Jimmy Rollins remains day-to-day with a right knee bruise. The shortstop had a significant limp in the clubhouse before the game and the knee was wrapped before a session with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.
Rollins fouled a ball off the inside of his kneecap in the first inning of Saturday's game. He declined to comment on how he felt Sunday morning.
Watching from the dugout Saturday, Halladay said he was impressed with Charlie Morton, the Pittsburgh righthander who has adopted Halladay's mechanics.
Morton allowed two runs in seven innings to trim his ERA to 2.52 (four points lower than Halladay's). Morton had a 7.57 ERA last season.
"It definitely looks like me," Halladay said. "You can do the things mechanically, but I think his approach has been good this year. Mechanics is only part of it. He deserves a lot of credit for the way he's turned things around."
The Phillies optioned outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. They are expected to activate Ross Gload from the paternity-leave list. . . . Righthander David Herndon joined the team Sunday, recalled after Saturday's game when lefty Mike Zagurski was optioned to Lehigh Valley. Herndon was quite effective for the IronPigs, striking out 14 against only two walks in 142/3 innings. He had a 2.45 ERA. . . . Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart was scratched from his Sunday start for single-A Clearwater with a blister on his right hand. The 21-year-old righthander has a 2.76 ERA in 11 starts this season. . . . The three-day series attendance total at PNC Park was 108,807, the fourth-largest in ballpark history. A parade of Phillies fans boosted the figure.