The Phillies pummeled the Nationals 7-2 on Friday, clobbering five home runs. However, even more impressive than the power barrage was starting pitcher Kyle Gibson. Gibson put on a truly exceptional performance, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning and hurling 8.0 frames of one run ball.

The offense went nuts Friday night, as Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, Darick Hall, J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber all homered. A four-run first inning gave the Phils an early lead, and things only looked up from there. They tacked on two more in the third and another in the seventh, giving them a commanding seven-run lead heading into the eighth.

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Kyle Gibson put on a masterful show, limiting the Juan Soto and Josh Bell-less Nationals to only two hits and one walk while striking out four. After 105 pitches through 8.0 innings, Interim Manager Rob Thomson called upon lefty Brad Hand to finish things off. Hand wasn’t at his sharpest, surrendering an earned run on a hit and a walk, but still managed to shut things down for the night.

It was a much needed victory for the Phillies, as they currently sit in the third wildcard spot with a 58-48 record. The Brewers and Cardinals, who are tied for the NL Central lead, have matching 58-48 marks. Despite the three-way tie in records, the Phils hold a crucial advantage. With no game 163 this year, the team that has won the season series will advance to the playoffs. The Phillies won the season set against both the Brewers and Cardinals, meaning that if things shake out in a tie with either team they’ll advance. There’s still plenty of baseball left to play, but the Phillies are sitting pretty with two months to go.

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