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

Kyle Gibson flirts with no-hitter as rampaging Phillies improve to 10 games over .500 - 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 JT Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber joined the power party later.

But Kyle Gibson stole the show Friday night.

“He was a lot of fun to catch,” Realmuto said. “That was the sharpest I’ve seen his stuff all season.”

Gibson flirted with a no-hitter in leading the Phillies to a 7-2 victory over the lowly Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

The 34-year-old right-hander threw 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 opportunity.

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. He walked one, struck out four and hit two batters when he tired late in the game.

The standout performance carried a little extra meaning for Gibson. He missed his previous start to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Von Gibson, who died at home in Indiana last week at the age of 84.

“She was a really special woman, very proud of all her grandchildren,” Gibson said.

The pitcher added that he was inspired by the memory of his grandmother while he was throwing.

“Without a doubt,” he said.

Gibson’s gem and the Phillies’ dramatic power display helped make the night the latest reminder that these Phillies might have something special brewing. Since June 1st, 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’ ninth in their last 11 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 five games over .500, and once they got there, the focus would become getting 10 games over .500.

Now they are there.

And Thomson becomes a National League Manager of the Year candidate.

As temporary skipper.

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 a sweep against them would greatly help the Phils’ playoff chances. They haven’t been there for 10 years.

“We’re playing better baseball for longer stretches this season,” Realmuto said. “We feel like our best baseball is still ahead of us.”

Gibson got plenty of early run support as the Phils hit three first-inning home runs against Washington starter Josiah Gray. Hoskins and Hall had solo shots and the resurgent Castellanos followed a Realmuto triple with a two-run shot, his second in three games. Realmuto hammered 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 got 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 admitted he was starting to think about the possibility of throwing a no-hitter in the fourth inning.

“I don’t know how guys don’t think about it,” he said. “One time you got through the first time of the order and you didn’t allow a base runner to get into the fourth inning, I think about that.”

Ultimately, Gibson didn’t 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.

“That was great,” he said. “I appreciate the cheering in the seventh when I gave up the hit. It’s always cool to have that kind of energy and the fans to lock in like that.”

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 pumped his glove in triumph as he walked off the mound.

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

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

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