Phillies win series opener against Mets and take over first place in NL East

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The Philadelphia Phillies won the opener of their crucial series against the New York Mets on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park (PHI 4, NYM 2). The outcome means that the Phillies now lead the Mets by a half-game in the NL East with the Braves close behind in third place and only one game out. The win was also Philly’s sixth in a row. 

The Mets, meantime, are out of first place for the first time in 90 days. They’re now 1-5 in August and 9-13 in the second half. 

Central to the Phillies’ success in this one was deadline acquisition Kyle Gibson. In six innings against the Mets he allowed only one run on four hits while striking out three and walking four. Along the way, Gibson was able to induce 13 ground-outs, which helped out of some tight spots including a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth. Gibson also tallied an RBI single. In two starts since being acquired from the Rangers, Gibson has now allowed just three runs in 12 2/3 innings. 

On offense for the Phillies, shortstop Didi Gregorius homered and tripled, and outfielder Bryce Harper — an emerging NL MVP candidate, according to our own Matt Snyder — gave the Phillies some necessary insurance runs with this two-run homer in the eighth:

That one traveled 442 feet, which makes the longest home run ever allowed by Edwin Díaz. Díaz, you’ll note above, pointed to the sky as though he’d just allowed a fly ball and not, you know, the longest home run ever authored at his expense. Harper with that blast is now batting .305/.415/.568 with 19 home runs and 26 doubles. 

We called those insurance runs “necessary” up above because Ian Kennedy allowed a solo shot to Jonathan Villar in the ninth that would’ve tied the score in the absence of Harper’s two-run homer. Kennedy, plucked from Texas in the same deal that brought Gibson to Philly, was appearing in his first save situation since the trade, and it wasn’t a clean one. It was, however, a win — a win that put the Phillies atop the NL East standings for the first time since early May. 

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