Christian Yelich came off the disabled list with a bang Sunday, smacking a triple in his first at-bat and scoring on a throwing error. The Marlins hope Yelich provides a spark that they missed while going 5-9 during his absence with a lower back strain.
"It was a very slow 15 days," the young outfielder said before Sunday's 4-3 win over the A's. "It's good to be back out there and trying to help the team win."
Yelich, however, is not the only sight for Miami's sore eyes. The slumping Phillies come to town in desperate need of a win after suffering a four-game sweep by the Braves. Philadelphia has dropped eight of 10 since going on a 9-2 run from June 10-20.
The Phillies trail the first-place Braves by eight games -- their largest deficit of the season. Meanwhile, the Marlins are only five games back, but they need to improve their 16-21 record against National League East foes if they plan on playing in October.
If there's anyone the Marlins can count on to turn their luck around, it will be starter Henderson Alvarez, behind whom Miami has won eight straight games.
The Marlins have won 11 of 16 starts by Alvarez, who will oppose Phillies hurler and former Marlin A.J. Burnett. Although Alvarez only has five wins to show for his club's success with him on the hill, his 2.32 ERA is the sixth-best in the Majors.
Alvarez has easily been the Marlins' ace since Jose Fernandez went down with Tommy John surgery. He's gone 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in nine starts since May 10.
In the same number of starts in that span, the Marlins' two other rotation mainstays haven't been nearly as effective. Wednesday's starter, Tom Koehler, is 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA and Nathan Eovaldi is 3-2 with a 4.47 ERA. The Marlins have lost 12 of their 18 starts.
"When I go out on the mound, I try to give 100 percent every time," Alvarez said. "I go out to win games, that's the most important thing. When I go on the field, I go out to compete. Thankfully it's gone well and I'll keep working hard to have success."
Phillies: Byrd taking flight
• Marlon Byrd took Braves righty Aaron Harang deep twice in Sunday's 3-2 loss to Atlanta to notch his seventh career multihomer game. It was just the latest power display in what has been a banner June for the veteran outfielder.
Byrd has hit eight of his 15 homers in June, marking his fourth season of 15 or more long balls during his 13-year career. Sunday's effort also made June the most prolific power month of his career as he has 26 homers in 895 June plate appearances.
Until Sunday, Byrd's nine career homers against the Marlins were tied with his nine against the Angels as his most against any foe. But his two solo shots against Harang gave him 10 career homers against the Braves.
Marlins: Unlucky 13
• Miami lost to Oakland in 14 innings Saturday night, marking the club's fifth loss of 13 or more innings this month.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Marlins are the first team in Major League history to lose five or more games of 13-plus innings in a single calendar month.
The Marlins have played 12 extra-innings games, tied with the Mets and the Red Sox for the second-most in the Majors behind the A's 14. In 2013, Miami played free baseball in 20 games, the third-highest mark in franchise history.
• Marcell Ozuna left Saturday's game with a cramp in his right leg. He said Sunday that he was fine and, even though he wasn't in the lineup, he led off the sixth inning as a pinch-hitter and hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career, drawing the Marlins within two runs of a tie.
• Koehler's wife is due to give birth to their first child Saturday, when the Marlins are in St. Louis.
• Phillies second baseman Chase Utley notched his 1,500th career hit in the seventh inning Sunday. He would have achieved the milestone earlier had Braves left fielder Justin Upton not robbed him of a potential double with a leaping catch up against the left-field wall.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.