The Philadelphia Phillies made several moves before the Tuesday trade deadline.
Now they appear to have a solid chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Kyle Gibson was perfect through six innings on Friday and lasted eight innings, and the Phillies clubbed five home runs in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Washington Nationals. Philadelphia will look for its third straight win over the Nationals and fourth in a row overall when the teams meet again on Saturday.
Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, Darick Hall, J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber homered on Friday for the Phillies, who have won eight of their past nine games to move into a tie for the last National League playoff spot.
"We have a good team," Gibson said in a postgame interview on Apple TV. "We added some good players to make us better. We also have an MVP on the way."
Noah Syndergaard, who was acquired this week from the Los Angeles Angels, earned a win for Philadelphia on Thursday. Two-time MVP Bryce Harper potentially could return from a left thumb fracture by the end of the month.
In the meantime, the Phillies continue to produce at the plate. Realmuto had three hits on Thursday, and seven of the team's nine hits went for extra bases.
The Phillies will hand the ball to Ranger Suarez (7-5, 3.60 ERA) on Saturday. In Suarez's latest start, on July 30 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he allowed three hits and struck out eight in six scoreless innings but got a no-decision.
Suarez is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in nine career games (two starts) against the Nationals. He beat Washington on June 17 after yielding three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Phillies recalled Nick Maton from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday to provide them with another left-handed bat. Right-handed-hitting Yairo Munoz was optioned to Lehigh Valley.
The Nationals will hope to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they battle the Phillies on Saturday.
With the Friday loss, Washington fell to 9-40 against the National League East foes this season.
The Nationals' offense was rather listless as Luis Garcia managed two of the team's three hits. Ildemaro Vargas delivered a sacrifice fly and Keibert Ruiz had an RBI groundout.
That was it.
"We just had to try to get the ball up a little bit more," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "(Gibson's) ball was moving quite a bit. Later in the game, we hit the ball a lot better. But he was good."
Patrick Corbin (4-15, 6.57) is scheduled to start for the Nationals on Saturday. The left-hander, who leads the majors in losses, allowed seven hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings in his Monday start against the New York Mets.
"It kind of seems like that's been happening a lot, where a ground ball maybe is a foot or two away from our guys," Corbin said postgame. "But just trying to make some quality pitches against these guys. It's a very good lineup over there and it's all you can do."
Corbin is 6-6 with a 3.88 ERA in 16 career starts against the Phillies. He lost to Philadelphia on June 10 after giving up nine runs (two earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Washington's Nelson Cruz (neck) missed his third straight game on Friday, and his status for Saturday was unclear.
--Field Level Media