Kyle Gibson flirts with no-hitter as runaway Phillies improve to 10 games over .500

On most nights, a five-homer barrage would be history.

Not in this one though.

Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos and Darick Hall sank in the first inning and JT Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber joined the power party later.

But Kyle Gibson stole the show on Friday night.

The 34-year-old right-hander flirted with a no-hitter to lead the Phillies to a 7-2 win over the lowly Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Gibson pitched perfect baseball for six innings. He lost his bid for the perfect game when he hit Victor Robles with a pitch to lead off the seventh. He then gave up a base hit to Luis Garcia to lose the no-hitter opportunity.

The night was still pretty special for Gibson. He matched a season high with eight innings pitched while allowing just two hits and one run.

The outstanding performance surely had extra meaning for Gibson. He missed his previous start to attend the funeral of his grandmother, who died last week.

Gibson’s gem and the Phillies’ display of dramatic power helped make the night the ultimate reminder that these Phillies might have something special brewing. Since June 1 they are 37-19. (The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are the only teams in the majors with better records since then.) The Phillies have gone from sinking to playoff contenders and currently control the third and final wild card in the National League.

Friday night’s victory was the Phillies’ eighth in their last nine games and propelled them to 10 games over .500 at 58-48, their best mark of the season.

The Phils were 22-29 when Rob Thomson replaced Joe Girardi as manager on June 3. Thomson’s first order of business was to meet with the team and tell the players to just focus on hitting .500. Once they got there, the focus would be to get to five games over .500, and once they got there, the focus would be to get to 10 games over .500.

Now they are there.

And Thomson is becoming an NL Manager of the Year candidate.

The Phillies have won 16 of their last 18 against the Nationals, dating back to July 2021. That includes eight wins in 10 meetings this season. The Phils still have nine more to play against the Nats this season and cleaning up against them would help the Phils’ playoff chances a lot.

Gibson got a lot of support in the first few runs when the Phils hit three first-inning home runs off Washington starter Josiah Gray. Hoskins and Hall each had solo homers and the resurgent Nick Castellanos followed Realmuto’s triple with a two-run homer, his second in three games. Realmuto hit a two-run homer in the third and Schwarber hit his NL-leading 34th in the seventh inning.

In addition to running support, Gibson received stellar defense from third baseman Alec Bohm, who kept the no-hitter alive with a dunk play and a shot across the diamond to end the sixth.

After that play, it was time to look up some facts about the Phillies’ no-hitter, just in case. The Phils have had 13 no-hitters in franchise history. Cole Hamels had his last on July 25, 2015, his last start with the club.

Gibson didn’t join the no-hit club, but he certainly had a night to remember. After allowing Garcia the hit in the seventh, he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 22,024.

Pitching on an extremely wet night, Gibson tired in the eighth, hit his second batter and allowed his second hit and a sacrifice fly. He struck out Robles to end the inning and slapped his glove in triumph as he walked off the mound.

Brad Hand allowed a run in the ninth to close out the victory.

Ranger Suarez and Patrick Corbin will pitch Saturday night in a southpaw battle.

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