PHILADELPHIA -- The homecoming of Athletics second baseman Joey Wendle spoiled the comeback of Phillies right-hander Henderson Alvarez at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.
Wendle, who went to Avon Grove High School outside Philadelphia and attended West Chester University, hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the sixth inning that put his team ahead for good in Oakland's 6-3 win.
Two of the runs were charged to Alvarez, who walked Matt Joyce and gave up a seeing-eye single to Chad Pinder to open the inning, prompting manager Pete Mackanin to go to his bullpen. Alvarez, 27, was making his first Major league start in more than two years following two shoulder surgeries.
"I didn't like the outcome, but I liked Alvarez," said Mackanin. "He made a couple mistakes in the fourth, but I liked what I saw."
The Phillies took an early lead with a pair of unearned runs against Athletics starter Sean Manaea in the bottom of the first. The Athletics tied the score with back-to-back homers by Pinder and Matt Olson off Alvarez to open the fourth before an RBI single by Maikel Franco in the fifth drove home J.P. Crawford to give the Phillies back the lead.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED One out away: The Phillies had a chance to maintain a one-run lead after relievers Hoby Milner and Edubray Ramos recorded consecutive strikeouts with two on in the sixth in support of Alvarez, who allowed a walk and a soft single through the left side to start the inning. Ramos, however, walked Mark Canha -- the final pitch a contested check swing -- and Ramos then served up a grand slam to Wendle on the very next pitch.
Stranded: Had the Phillies taken better advantage of their opportunities, they might have been able to overcome Wendle's slam. They were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base, five of them on second or third.
"I heard the cheers as I walked up the first time and then some boos. It was kind of funny. I'm a Philly sports fan, so I get it." -- Wendle, who had a large contingent of fans supporting him despite his status as a local being mostly unknown to the rest of the Citizens Bank Park crowd
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The A's scored all six of the runs on Sunday via the home run. Of the 680 runs they've scored this year, 334 have come from 217 home runs. The A's record for highest percentage of runs scored on the long ball came in 1996, when they scored 46.3 percent of their runs by home run, and this year, it's a staggering 49.1 percent.
FRANCO DELIVERS WITH BAT, GLOVE
The third baseman is having a disappointing season. So the fact that he had three hits and two RBIs and also made a terrific defensive play to rob leadoff hitter Marcus Semien of extra bases in the fifth, was encouraging.
So is the fact that Franco is hitting .406 (13-for-32) with two doubles, two homers and seven RBIs in his last nine games. He denies -- sort of -- that the presence of Crawford, a shortstop who has also been playing third and second, has anything to do with his recent hot streak.
"Not really," he said. "I understand that this is September and a lot of young guys come up. I understand the situation. I don't get excited or get mad, but I just got more motivated. I have to be disappointed [in my season] a little bit. But I try to forget everything and be positive every single day and do everything I can do."
WHAT'S NEXT A's: A three-game set in Detroit will begin on Monday as the A's will go with right-handed starter Jharel Cotton in a 4:10 p.m. PT start time. The A's lost the only other series meeting between the two franchises during the first week of May after they won the opener, 7-2.
Phillies: The Phillies need to win five of their final 12 games to avoid losing 100 games for the first time since 1961. They'll begin a four-game series against the Dodgers, who own baseball's best record, beginning Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Pivetta squares off against Clayton Kershaw.