PHILADELPHIA -- Plenty of questions continue to surround the Phillies as the Trade Deadline inches closer.
But manager Charlie Manuel likes to focus on the present. He is a day-to-day manager. And since the calendar turned to July, most of those days have gone well for his team.
That includes Thursday, when the Phillies knocked off Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals for a 3-1 win behind a strong outing from Kyle Kendrick and a clutch pinch-hit double by Kevin Frandsen. The victory was the Phillies' seventh in their last 10 games and the third of a four-game set against Washington.
"I just think we're starting to click, we're starting to get some breaks to go our way," Frandsen said. "First couple of months of the year, it was tough -- I think everybody saw that. It wasn't like we were playing bad baseball, but we were getting bad breaks. I think we're getting fortunate breaks right now, and hey, we'll take them whenever we can."
The Phillies are still in third in the NL East, 7 1/2 games back of Atlanta, but they have won four of their last five series and are just one game below .500 at 46-47. With the success against Washington, they are also just 1 1/2 games out of second place in the division.
To win the series, Kendrick had to outduel Zimmermann, who has been the Nationals' best starter this season. The game was knotted at 1 in the seventh when Frandsen came off the bench and gave the Phillies the lead for good.
Darin Ruf began the frame with a double against Zimmermann. Two batters later, Frandsen hit a sinking liner that fell in front of center fielder Denard Span, and John McDonald -- who was pinch-running for Ruf -- scored easily.
It was Frandsen's 11th pinch-hit of the year, which is the most in baseball. But he was not worried about getting on, just that the run scored.
"I'm not praying for that ball to get down, I just want that run to get across," Frandsen said. "If that run doesn't get across, then I didn't do my job."
Frandsen was the last batter Zimmermann would face, and the Phillies chased the All-Star righty after recording eight hits and scoring twice in 6 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Kendrick outperformed Zimmermann with seven innings of one-run ball. Kendrick had allowed a combined 22 hits in his previous two starts, but he buckled down against the Nationals. He gave up just five hits and had two strikeouts in his eighth win.
"Guys scored runs when they needed to, and I knew they had their horse going tonight, so I had to keep the game close, give us a chance to win and I was able to do that," Kendrick said.
The lone run the right-hander surrendered came when Bryce Harper scored on a sacrifice fly after tripling in the sixth.
Left fielder Domonic Brown threw out Harper at the plate in the first inning, but the Phillies also committed four errors behind Kendrick. Chase Utley had a career-high three errors; however, no runs scored in the innings of the defensive miscues.
"He really had to battle, because we made some mistakes," Manuel said of Kendrick. "There was some sloppy play. He definitely was the guy that got us out of the jams."
Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon, who earned his 20th save, both pitched a perfect inning of relief to push the Phillies to 5-2 on their current homestand.
Ben Revere hit an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Utley scored an insurance run on a Michael Young grounder in the eighth. Revere, who went 2-for-4 Thursday, has hit safely in his last nine games and has six multihit contests in that span.
The Phillies welcome the White Sox to Citizens Bank Park on Friday for their final series before the All-Star break. It was acknowledged by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. last week that this homestand was an important one in regard to this team's future.
When Manuel was asked about the homestand going well so far, he ended his response by talking about -- what else? -- the next day.
"Right now, we're having a good homestand," Manuel said. "We've still got Chicago coming in. Our main priority is to win [Friday's] game."
Stephen Pianovich is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.