Alfaro's two-run blast powers Philadelphia past Oakland

Jorge Alfaro two-run blast helps lift Philadelphia past Oakland
Jorge Alfaro hasn't commanded the type of fan-fare given to someone like Rhys Hoskins, but he's quietly putting together a strong second half while showing that he's a legitimate piece of the current Phillies rebuild.

Alfaro's two-out, two-run homer with the score evened in the sixth lifted the Phillies to a 5-3 win over the Athletics on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Matt Olsen launched a two-run homer off Phillies starter Ben Lively in the second to give the Athletics an early lead. An inning later the game was interrupted by an hour and 46 minute rain delay, forcing both teams to rely on their bullpens the rest of the way.

The Phillies bullpen kept the Athletics hitless for five innings until closer Hector Neris surrendered a solo homer to Jed Lowrie with one out in the ninth before securing his 21st save of the season. Victor Arano tossed two innings to earn his first major league victory.

Alfaro finished the night 2-for-4 and raised his average on the season to .317. He has four homers and 11 RBIs in 21 games since his call-up Aug. 5 from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"I really like what I see," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I think he's going to hit here. I'm most pleased with his game-calling."

One knock against Alfaro early in his stint with the big league club was his ability to handle pitchers and call games. That's something that's changed as of late.

"That's all I'm thinking about," he said of his work behind the plate.

The two clubs conclude their three-game set on Sunday with righty Henderson Alvarez set to make his season debut for the Phillies. The former catcher was signed as a Minor League free agent on Aug. 22 after not having pitched in the big leagues since May 2015.

"It's an audition," Mackanin said of Alvarez's start.

The Athletics counter with left-hander Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65 ERA).
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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