Brought in to provide power, Helms took White Sox starter Jon Danks deep in the second inning, and didn't hear a word from teammates when he returned to the dugout."When I crossed home and gave Rod [Barajas] a high five, he said 'Welcome to the club,' then they gave me the silent treatment in the dugout," Helms said. "Someone yelled, 'Way to get off that donut.' That's what keeps the game fun. It was a long time coming." Helms' previous homer came Sept. 24, 2006, in Philadelphia, when he homered off Jamie Moyer, while with the Marlins. He credited something pointed out to him by manager Charlie Manuel. "He mentioned something to me two or three days ago," Helms said. "We watched some video from last year in Florida, and he saw I was getting under the ball more instead of on top of it. We worked on a few things in the cage. Hopefully, what he saw will help me." AA automatic: Antonio Alfonseca keeps people in stitches with his antics on and off the field, but his pitching has held the Phillies' bullpen together. Alfonseca has five saves since new closer Brett Myers joined regular closer Tom Gordon on the disabled list, and hasn't allowed an earned run his previous nine outings. He engaged in some unintentional comedy in the ninth inning on Wednesday. Aggravated after a leadoff walk, Alfonseca flung his hand in the air and sent his glove flying. The players converged to reassure Alfonseca, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound reliever gave the home-plate umpire a friendly pat on the behind. "There was no problem," he said. "I got [sweaty], and the glove come off. I said [to home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson] I was sorry, it was my fault." Philling in: Shane Victorino stole his 20th base of the season in the first inning. ... Jim Thome made his first plate appearance in Philadelphia since being dealt to the White Sox after the 2005 season. He received a rousing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd. Nothing intentional: Despite being hit twice by former teammate Jose Contreras on Tuesday, Aaron Rowand doesn't suspect foul play. "He called to apologize after the second time, and he didn't have to," Rowand said. "He was struggling to find his spots and he didn't have his control. He's a wonderful guy. There's no way he was trying to hit me on purpose, and I knew that before he apologized." Ribbing: When Rowand swung and missed at a Tim Wakefield knuckleball that ended up striking him in the arm, he knew his cell phone would be buzzing with text messages. One of the first ones he saw after that Spring Training at-bat came from Mark Buehrle. It read, simply: "Good job." "Anybody I know that looks bad like that, or has a lowlight like that, he's going to hear about it," Buehrle said. "The way [Rowand] plays, things like that are going to happen." Rowand would expect no less from his former teammate and close friend, and would do the same thing if the situation were reversed. In fact, he has. "Phone calls and text messages, sure," Rowand said. "We watch highlights, and if they look dumb striking out or hitting a home run, guys will call and leave messages. The other day, Paulie [Paul Konerko] fell on his face in Toronto [running from first to third]. I let him know what I thought about that." Minor news: Lefty Matt Smith, who had been trying to rediscover his control at Triple-A Ottawa, was placed on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation. ... Righty Zack Segovia, one of the candidates to replace Freddy Garcia, fell to 1-8 for the Lynx. He gave up seven runs in five innings in a loss to Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Outfielder Mike Spidale was promoted to Double-A Reading from Clearwater. ... Righty Kyle Drabek, who was activated from the disabled list earlier this week, is scheduled to start for Class A Lakewood on Wednesday. Coming up: After a day off on Thursday, the Phillies host the defending AL champion Tigers for three games. Jon Lieber, who starts on Friday against Jeremy Bonderman at 7:05 p.m. ET, is coming off his best performance of the season, a three-hit shutout of the Royals on June 9. He struck out 11, one shy of his career high. It was his 25th career complete game and his fifth shutout.
Lieber had allowed 10 runs and 23 hits over 11 2/3 innings in losses to the D-backs and Giants in his previous two starts before dominating the Royals.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.