For the longest time Sunday afternoon, the proceedings at Citizens Bank Park looked like another emphatic statement by the villainous Jayson Werth. In fact, it appeared to be a formatted routine. Public address announcer Dan Baker would introduce the former Phillies outfielder, the crowd would shower the bearded one in boos and Werth would torture them with his bat.

Home run in the first inning, double in the third, a two-run, deficit-erasing homer accentuated with a bat flip in the fifth and a single in the seventh. Werth has won the battle with the Phillies that started seven years ago when he opted to leave the team for the allure of a seven-year contract worth $126 million from the Washington Nationals.

Ruben Amaro Jr., then the Phillies general manager, congratulated Werth on his new deal before lobbing the first grenade.

"We'll get him out - a lot," Amaro said the night the news broke about Werth leaving the Phillies. "Oh, I believe that we will."

Instead, Werth became a valuable contributor to a Washington team that has won three of the last six National League East titles and appears to be on its way to another this season. The 37-year-old outfielder also emerged as a Phillies killer.

With his four hits Sunday, he raised his career average to .277, his career on-base percentage to .354 and his career OPS to .850 against his former team. His 22 home runs against the Phillies are more than he has hit against any other team despite the fact he has played considerably more games against Miami, Atlanta, and the New York Mets.

There's also the part where the Phillies have not done a great job of replacing Werth. It's a problem that reached epic proportions a year ago when the Phillies only got eight home runs and had a major-league-worst .634 OPS from their rightfielders.

Maybe, just maybe, the Phillies have finally found a suitable outfield replacement for Werth in Aaron Altherr. At the very least, Altherr trumped Werth's two home runs with one eighth-inning swing Sunday that produced three runs and erased a 5-2 deficit. He later drew a 10th-inning walk ahead of Freddy Galvis' game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th as the Phillies ended a five-game losing streak with a 6-5 victory.

"I see some resemblance in me and that Altherr kid," Werth said. "He's had wrist injuries. What is he - 6-foot-5? He's an athletic kid and there are some similarities in his swing."

Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs saw those similarities, too. Stairs, in fact, evoked Werth's name when he started working with Altherr during spring training.

"All the work I did with [Stairs] in spring training allowed me to relax my body and my hands," Altherr said. "It has really helped me to see the ball better."

Stairs' intent during his hitting conversations with Werth when the two played together in 2008 and 2009 was the same as it was with Altherr in Clearwater, Fla. Shorten the swing a little in order to get to the baseball quicker.

"It helps you start earlier and it helps you react to the ball more and see the ball more because there is less movement in your body," Stairs said. "The less movement in your body, you pick up the rotation quicker and you recognize out of the hand whether it's a ball or a strike."

Altherr admitted to being a bit skeptic at first because he thought the new approach might reduce his ability to hit for power.

"Maybe a little bit," Altherr said. "My first swing I didn't think I could generate any power doing that, so I was like, 'OK, maybe this isn't going to work.' But I stuck with it and eventually I started feeling comfortable doing it."

It helped that he hit a home run in his first live batting-practice session during spring training. It helped even more that through 23 games and 65 at-bats this season Altherr is hitting .338 with seven doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs.

Altherr did not start Saturday or Sunday because of a sore wrist he suffered diving for a fly ball Friday night and it's always a concern when a guy who had wrist surgery aggravates that injury. It was clear from his swing Sunday, however, that Altherr's wrist is fine.

It's also clear to manager Pete Mackanin that Altherr needs to be in the Phillies' lineup as often as possible right now.

"I'm looking forward to watching him play a little bit more," Mackanin said.

Werth, for his part, did not remember the exact conversations he had with Stairs in 2008, but he does believe the Phillies have found a winner with his former teammate as the hitting coach.

"The main thing I remember us talking about is getting through the ball and creating backspin and trying to hit homers," Werth said. "A big part of being a good hitter sometimes is taking information and jumbling it up in your head what you want it to be and leaving all that other stuff out of it. He could have said all kinds of things and maybe I just wasn't listening. I know we've had tons of conversations about hitting and one of the people who has helped me the most in this game is Matt Stairs, so I tend to believe whatever he told you."

More important, Aaron Altherr believed and maybe, just maybe, the Phillies have found themselves the kind of outfielder they've been looking for ever since Werth's departure.

bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob