"We have to win series like this, especially at home against teams like the Dodgers, if we intend to keep this thing going the way we are," starting pitcher Jake Arrieta said.
Since May 26, only the Red Sox entered Wednesday with a better record than the Dodgers' 40-19. Los Angeles bolstered its lineup with a trade for Manny Machado just a few days before pulling into town. But with a 7-3 win on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies took two out of three -- and sealed the season series, four games to three -- against the team that many believe to be a favorite to repeat as the National League champion.
It's not naive to think that these teams could see each other again in October. The Phillies have to like how they've matched up so far.
"Every series win against a really tough opponent gives us the confidence that we can go deep into October," manager Gabe Kapler said. "We really believe that right now."
The Phillies may be active on the trade market to improve the chances they get that far. A bullpen weapon and an additional bat are among the possibilities. Reports surfaced Wednesday that Orioles veteran center fielder Adam Jones is a target.
But the current roster has proven its worth. The Phillies are 10-2-1 in their last 13 series. They increased their lead in the National League East to 1 1/2 games. After a deflating ninth-inning defeat Monday night, they emerged from Tuesday's 16-inning marathon with a gutsy win and threw the biggest punch Wednesday with a five-run fifth.
Scott Kingery sparked the Phillies' big inning with a one-out solo shot, his fifth home run of the season and first since June 29. Following Kingery, Jesmuel Valentin singled and Andrew Knapp hit an RBI double. The Dodgers intentionally walked Rhys Hoskins -- who had already homered in the first -- and manager Dave Roberts brought in lefty Scott Alexander to face Odubel Herrera, who walked. That set up Carlos Santana with a big opportunity, and the former Dodgers prospect delivered, lining a bases-clearing triple into the right-center field gap.
"We found a way to get that big hit when we needed it," Kingery said "We kind of feed off each other. Someone gets a big hit and, next thing you know, someone comes in and follows that up in the same fashion."
That is what good teams do. This week, the visiting Dodgers didn't appear to be the only club fitting that description.
"We're a good team, too," Hoskins said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hot Hoskins: Hoskins turned on a 3-2 pitch from Dodgers starter Walker Buehler in the first inning and sent it to the deepest part of the park. He's now homered in four of his last five games, and said that the Home Run Derby actually helped his swing.
Starting strong: Arrieta threw a quality start one day after the Phillies used the bullpen for 11 innings. He allowed an unearned run in the first inning and a two-run home run to Max Muncy in the sixth, finishing with a line of six innings, three runs (two earned) and six strikeouts against two walks. Arrieta now owns a 3.18 ERA in four July starts.
"He knew we needed length, he knew that we needed efficiency, that we needed to ride him deep into the game," Kapler said. "And that's what he gave us against, I think it's the best all-around lineup that we've faced all year."
SOUND SMART With Hoskins' and Kingery's home runs, the Phillies have now gone deep at least twice in four straight games for the first time since July 3-6, 2016.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Seranthony Dominguez entered with two outs in the top of the eighth. He walked Matt Kemp. Alex Verdugo then sent a fly ball deep to right-center field and a collective gasp could be heard from the crowd of 35,659. But Herrera tracked it down, going 104 feet in 5.7 seconds. The four-star grab had a 34-percent catch probability.
HE SAID IT "Got to give credit to the Phillies. They play hard, they play the right way. They can pitch. They beat us. We got beat this series." -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY Kingery hit his fifth home run of the season and first since June 29 in the fifth inning. The solo shot gave the Phillies a one-run lead. It appeared a fan might have reached over the wall to grab a ball that wouldn't have gone out, but a crew chief review confirmed the home run call.
ON THE MOVE The Phillies optioned right-handed pitcher Drew Anderson to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. A corresponding move will be made before Thursday night's game in Cincinnati.
UP NEXT The Phillies begin a four-game series in Cincinnati at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Ranger Suarez, the Phillies' No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will make his Major League debut and become the first left-hander to start for Philadelphia since Adam Morgan on Sept. 28, 2016. Suarez has allowed just one run in three starts since being promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Reds will start Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.32 ERA).
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.