PHILADELPHIA (AP) Rhys Hoskins goes deep. And deep again. Kyle Schwarber is crushing home runs at a pace like no other slugger since late May. Bryce Harper played as a reigning MVP and hit nearly .400 for over a month.
With pop on the plate, the Phillies are perfect under their new manager — and gearing up for a summer playoff push.
Hoskins hit a pair of solo homers and Schwarber added a three-pointer to lead Philadelphia to its eighth straight win, 7-5 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
On Saturday, the Phillies can match their longest winning streak since 2011 — the last year the franchise made the playoffs — when they won nine in a row in July and August.
“We’re just waiting for when the Phillies show up and the other team won’t have a chance,” winning pitcher Kyle Gibson said.
The Phillies returned home after a three-game sweep against Milwaukee and crashed and fought again against the Diamondbacks. The Phillies are 7-0 under interim manager Rob Thomson. Thomson is the first coach to win his first seven games since Joe Morgan won 12 in a row with the Boston Red Sox in 1988.
“He’s obviously pushing all the right buttons right now,” Hoskins said. “He keeps us here as loose as possible. I think we are seeing a very good product in the field. We are playing a good ball at the moment.
With Harper (3 for 4) leading the charge, the Phillies are poised to make a run for an NL wildcard spot as they enter the sweetest point of their schedule. The Phillies opened a six-game homestand against the Diamondbacks and Marlins below .500. This is followed by four games in Washington (only the Reds are worse in the NL) and two games in Texas.
That’s 13 straight games against teams with losing records through June 23 against San Diego.
Don’t count the Phillies (29-29) among the losing teams — they’re down .500 for the first time since going 17-17 on May 14.
“You have to be careful because these are major league teams,” Thomson said. “Anyone can beat anybody else any night and that’s kind of our message. You gotta go out and play the same way you play Milwaukee, high energy. I I liked the energy level a lot. I really liked the offensive approach.
The Phillies have been playing well lately against the aces. They chased down NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes in the fifth inning of Thursday’s 8-3 win at Milwaukee and Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen (4-2) allowed seven hits and six runs in just 1 1/3 innings and the shortest start of his career.
As it turned out, the Omens were against Arizona all along.
The Phillies welcomed 8-year-old Caden Marge and his family into the game after he was filmed praying for – and then wildly celebrating – the team after Bryson Stott’s game-winning home run against the Angels on Sunday. The Phillies may want to offer subscriptions to children. Marge was in the team broadcast booth when Schwarber hit a three-point shot from Gallen in the second for a 5-0 lead. He has six best home runs in MLB since May 30.
Harper is batting .391 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 27 games since May 5.
Hoskins staked Gibson (4-2) for an early lead with a one-out solo homer in the first inning. He provided cushion with his second solo shot of the game and his 11th homer of the season in the seventh.
Gibson gave up Daulton Varsho’s ninth homer of the year in sixth, then combined with Brad Hand to give up four runs in seventh, making it 6-5. Seranthony Dominguez knocked out Christian Walker looking for a 90mph slider that left the even run stuck in second.
Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 11th save.
“We spent a lot of time talking (to the media) about how bad things were going for us. So it’s good that everything is going well, ”said Gibson. “It’s good to have things running and to take a few breaks.”
The Phillies went into 2½ games on the NL’s wildcard third place and another big crowd – they’re growing again at Citizens Bank Park – had to watch the scoreboard (OK, scroll Twitter) for the latest updates. And why not? Their manager takes a look.
“I always look at the scoreboard,” Thomson said.
For the eighth straight time, the scoreboard showed a W for the Phillies.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo ended his MLB career in 1999 and a .211 limited-time batting average with the Phillies.
“I just enjoyed my time there. I learned what the fans were like,” he said. “They were very engaged and passionate. I once made a mistake behind Curt Schilling It was basically a double play ball and it went through my legs and they booed me.
The Phillies reinstated RHP Zack Wheeler (4-3, 3.14 ERA) off the paternity list and squarely beat INF Scott Kingery at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies send Wheeler to the mound against LHP Madison Bumgarner (2-5, 3.64 ERA) in Game 2 of a three-game set.
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