The Phillies ended their four-game series in D.C. just like the way they started it, coming back in the ninth inning to beat the Washington Nationals and finish off a sweep.

After scoring five in the ninth inning Monday to win in Washington, the Phillies scored four in the ninth off of new Nats closer Kyle Finnegan in Thursday’s 7-6 win. 

*five runs in the ninth, my mistake.

With 53 games to play, the Phils find themselves a half-game behind the New York Mets for first place in the NL East. The Mets, after dropping three of four in Miami and losing six-of-eight, are in town this weekend for the most important series of the season to date.

J.T. Realmuto, who along with Bryce Harper is red hot, tied the game with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth.

After an intentional walk to Harper, Rhys Hoskins delivered the game-winning hit, a two-run double.

“This is fun, man,” Hoskins said on the broadcast postgame. “We’re playing really good ball right now. We’re right in the race. This is gonna be a fun weekend back home. This is a big win. It’s hard to sweep a four-game series on the road.”

Realmuto has driven in 12 runs in his last eight games, hitting .406. 

Harper has reached base in 35 of his last 58 plate appearances with 12 extra-base hits, including a homer Thursday — which was the 250th of his career.

Odubel Herrera doubled to begin the ninth and Ronald Torreyes, who continues to be in the middle of late-game rallies, reached via error to set the table.

“We’re healthy, that’s a first,” Hoskins said. “It just seems like we’re playing really, really good team baseball. We’re moving runners, getting guys in from third, making pitches when we need to. We never feel like we’re out of the game.”

The Phillies overcame three errors and a poor start from Aaron Nola, who was unable to hold an early two-run lead. He began the day with three scoreless innings before facing eight hitters in the fourth and allowing a three-run home run to Josh Bell in the fifth.

Nola has a 4.49 ERA through 22 starts and has not delivered three consecutive quality starts (6+ IP, 3 ER or fewer) this season. His last two starts had been strong and he was facing an inexperienced, depleted post-trade deadline Nationals lineup, but his season-long search for consistency continues.

Archie Bradley allowed a run and had the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth inning but escaped for the save.

The Phils are 56-53 as they enter the weekend showdown with the Mets, who have spent 86 of the season’s 108 days atop the NL East. The division is a true three-team race over these final games. 

The Mets are vulnerable. Jacob deGrom and Francisco Lindor are injured. Michael Conforto is hitting .200. Catcher James McCann has not been productive. Noah Syndergaard still hasn’t pitched. Javy Baez, who was 0-for-5 with five strikeouts Thursday, leads the majors in K’s and is not having as strong a season as he did from 2018-20. 

There should be some energy at the ballpark this weekend. It’s Kyle Gibson vs. Marcus Stroman Friday night. 

“It’s gonna be great, we can’t wait to get back home,” Hoskins said. “I haven’t had much of it in my time here, but we’re ready for it. I’m excited to see what The Bank is like during a meaningful series against the Mets in August.”