Chase Utley’s reputation precedes him.

Before Tony Gwynn Jr. joined the Phillies Utley was viewed a certain way. Since joining the team there has been nothing to sway Gwynn’s original assessment.

“He was a baller,” Gwynn said. “And he continues to be a baller.”

It was Utley’s home run with two outs in the eighth inning that lifted the Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins and a three-game series sweep Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. It also has been Utley’s play that has the Phillies sitting at 6-6 through the first two weeks of the season.

Utley went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, two runs and an RBI on Sunday. This comes after he went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs the night before and two more hits in the first game of the series for a 7 for 12 showing against the Marlins to boost his batting average to a cool .500 (20 for 40).

Better yet, nine of Utley’s 20 hits have been for extra bases and four of his hits have given the Phillies the lead. Add in five walks and Utley’s on-base percentage (.565) is the best in the major leagues.

So what gives? Utley has had some hot streaks before, but ever since the injuries began to nag him after the 2009 season, Utley has never been this hot. Actually, that might be it. Utley is healthy and his chronic knee condition is manageable.

Sometimes a little good health goes a long way, according to manager Ryne Sandberg.

“I just see him in really good shape, moving really well on the field defensively, running the bases, and staying so active on the bases that maybe that shows how well he's feeling,” Sandberg said. “I think [his health is] just a non-issue. He's just having quality at bats, seeing the ball well. He's one of the guys making pitchers throw strikes to him. He's just in a real good zone.”