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

Kyle Gibson flirts with no-hitter as rampaging Phillies improve to 10 games over .500 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

On most nights, a barrage of five home runs would be the story.

Not on this one, though.

Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos and Darick Hall all went deep in the first inning and J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber joined the power party later.

But Kyle Gibson stole the show Friday night.

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

Gibson pitched perfect baseball through 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-hit chance.

The night was still pretty special for Gibson. He matched a season-high with eight innings pitched and gave up just two hits and a run.

The outstanding performance surely carried a little 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’ dramatic power display helped to make the night the latest 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 Phils have gone from sinking ship to playoff contender and currently control the third and final NL wild-card spot.

Friday night’s win was the Phillies’ eighth in their last nine games and it propelled them to a season-best 10 games over .500 at 58-48.

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

Now, they’re there.

And Thomson is becoming a National League Manager of the Year candidate.

The Phillies have won 16 of their last 18 against the Nationals, dating to July 2021. Included in that are 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 strongly help the Phils’ playoff chances.

Gibson received plenty of early run support when the Phils bashed three first-inning homers against Washington starter Josiah Gray. Hoskins and Hall had solo shots and resurgent Nick Castellanos followed a triple by Realmuto with a two-run shot, his second in three games. Realmuto pounded a two-run homer in the third and Schwarber clubbed his NL-leading 34th in the seventh inning.

In addition to the run support, Gibson received stellar defense from third baseman Alec Bohm, who kept the no-hit bid alive with a diving play and throw across the diamond to end the sixth.

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

Gibson did not join the no-hit club, but he certainly had a night to remember. After giving up the hit to Garcia in the seventh, he was treated to a standing ovation by the crowd of 22,024.

Pitching on an extremely humid 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 punched his glove in triumph as he walked off the mound.

Brad Hand allowed a run in the ninth in closing out the win.

Ranger Suarez and Patrick Corbin will pitch Saturday night in a battle of left-handers.

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