PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Growing up near Philadelphia, Joey Wendle dreamed of coming to the plate and hitting a game-winning home run for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
On Sunday, he beat his hometown team hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Phillies.
“I’ve done that plenty of times in backyards, so it was certainly really fun today,” he said.
He was one of three rookies to hit a home run for the Athletics. With the Athletics trailing 3-2 with two outs in the sixth, Wendle lined the first pitch he saw from reliever Edubray Ramos into the right-field seats, quieting the crowd of 28,054. Oakland had loaded the bases with two walks and a single. The grand slam was Wendle’s first home run of the season and the second of his career.
Wendle, who went to high school in West Grove, Pa., said he barely remembered running around the bases.
“It’s one thing to hit a grand slam to put your team ahead. It’s another when you do it at home,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “And this is a close-knit group of guys, especially the younger guys that we brought up and Joey’s been with them, so they were really happy for him.
Fellow rookies Chad Pinder and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, erasing an early 2-0 deficit. Olson has homered in three consecutive games and has 17 home runs since Aug. 11.
Sean Manaea (11-10) lasted five innings to earn the win. He gave up three runs and struck out four. Five Oakland relievers combined to throw four hitless innings to preserve the win. Blake Treinen converted his 11th save after a scoreless ninth.
Phillies starter Henderson Alvarez (0-1) made his first start since May 22, 2015 when he was with the Miami Marlins. He worked into the sixth inning but allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base and was removed. Both runners scored on Wendle’s grand slam.
“I liked the movement on his pitches. He had good life on his pitches,” Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. “He made a couple mistakes in that fourth inning, hanging curveball and a fastball.”
The Phillies scored first on a fielding error by Matt Chapman in the first inning. Maikel Franco had three hits, including two RBI singles.
Oakland improved to 66-83 with the victory and has won eight of its last 11 games. The Phillies dropped to 58-91.
LONG TIME COMING
Alvarez missed over two seasons while returning from shoulder surgeries. He signed with but never pitched for the Athletics last year and spent the beginning of 2017 with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League before the Phillies signed him.
Alvarez said through an interpreter that his return was “almost like my first time in the big leagues.”
“A lot of people didn’t believe in me,” he said. “A lot of people thought that my career was over. It’s great to be here and I’m grateful to the Phillies for giving me the opportunity to show not only them, but everyone, that I’m still good, that I can still pitch.”
Alvarez became the 31st pitcher used by the Phillies this season. That broke a team record set in 2015.
Athletics: OF Boog Powell missed the game after coming up limping while trying to rob a home run on Saturday night.
Athletics: RHP Jharel Cotton (8-10, 5.81) takes the hill Monday to start the Athletics’ three-game set vs. the Tigers, who will throw RHP Buck Farmer (4-3, 6.62) in Detroit.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (5-10, 6.75) pitches Monday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who toss National League ERA leader LHP Clayton Kershaw (17-3, 2.12). Pivetta debuted against the Dodgers in April, allowing two runs in five innings.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)