PHILADELPHIA -- Managers and coaches love to say it is important to be strong defensively up the middle.
They believe few have been stronger up the middle than Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino.
Victorino learned Wednesday he had won his third consecutive National League Gold Glove Award.
"It's great," Victorino said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening. "Did I expect it? No. Was I shocked a little bit? Yeah. Sometimes you don't get the recognition you would get in previous years. I'm not saying I had an awful year, but sometimes the Gold Glove is a little bit around what you do offensively as well. It's definitely an honor. It's always great, but it's about the team and we didn't do what we wanted to do this year."
Victorino is the first Phillies outfielder to win three consecutive Gold Gloves since Garry Maddox won eight consecutive from 1975-82. Victorino tied for the league lead in assists (11) and finished fifth out of 37 qualifying outfielders in fielding percentage (.995) and range factor per game (2.59).
NL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
The National League winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with the number each has won in his career.
Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Scott Rolen, Reds
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Michael Bourn, Astros
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Bronson Arroyo, Reds
Victorino hit .259 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 18 home runs and 69 RBIs. He had a .756 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which was 14 points below his career average. He said the Gold Glove Award -- recognition he played solid defense throughout the six-month season -- helped numb the sting from a down offensive year.
"Hopefully you can have great offensive years every year," Victorino said. "Sometimes you're going to hit the bump in the road. But you can only try to be the best player you can be. Doing some good things defensively is an accomplishment."
Victorino, who made just two errors this season, is the sixth player in franchise history to win three or more Gold Glove Awards. Mike Schmidt (10), Maddox (eight), Manny Trillo (three), Scott Rolen (three) and Jimmy Rollins (three) are the others.
Victorino was the only Phillies player to win a Gold Glove Award this year. Phillies shortstop Rollins had won Gold Gloves from 2007-09, but after missing nearly half the season because of injuries, he did not win his fourth consecutive award.
Third baseman Placido Polanco and second baseman Chase Utley made cases for themselves but did not win.
Polanco led the league in fielding percentage (.986) and range factor (2.90). He committed just five errors, which were the fewest among the league's 11 qualifying third basemen. He finished sixth in zone rating (.769).
Utley won the 2010 Fielding Bible Award for second basemen. Utley led the league in zone rating (.847), range factor (5.49) and total chances per nine innings (5.24), but he finished seventh out of 11 qualifying second basemen in fielding percentage (.981). He committed 11 errors.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.