Matt Vierling hadn’t played second base in a game before. Not in high school. Not in Little League. Never. But there he was, playing second base for nine innings of a major league game Saturday.

And nobody with the Phillies was the least bit concerned.

It worked out because, well, everything always works out for Rob Thomson’s Phillies. Star-crossed under deposed Joe Girardi, they have been flawless for eight days under their interim manager. So, to reinforce the trend, Vierling easily handled six grounders and Nick Castellanos drove in a run with an excuse-me, check-swing double in a breezy 4-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

» READ MORE: Matt Vierling is an unlikely TV pitchman, but he’d rather be a regular with the Phillies

“You get on a winning streak, and certain games maybe you shouldn’t have won or certain things happen in your favor,” Zack Wheeler said after tossing six sparkling innings to continue the Thomson Turnaround. “It’s just baseball. Sometimes it goes against us, sometimes it goes with us. Just take it in stride and pile it up as a win.”

The wins are piling up, all right. That’s nine — count ’em, nine (eight since Thomson took charge) — in a row, the Phillies’ longest roll since a nine-game streak in the summer of 2011, the last year they made the playoffs.

OK, let’s not jump too far ahead. A team must have a winning record before it thinks about the postseason, and wait, what’s that? At 30-29, the Phillies are finally above .500 for the first time since April 12, when they were 3-2.

Absolutely everything is coming up Phillies. Castellanos gave them a 1-0 lead by punching a two-out single through the right side in the first inning against Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner. Rookie shortstop Bryson Stott made it 3-0 by showing off his improved two-strike approach with a no-stride two-run homer in the second inning.

Wheeler scattered two hits through six innings, and when reliever Jeurys Familia got into a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Andrew Bellatti bailed him out by getting switch-hitting Ketel Marte to line out to center field.

Get to know Bellatti, by the way. The 30-year-old journeyman reliever signed a minor league contract last winter, got called up one week into the season, and has allowed a run in only six of 20 appearances.

» READ MORE: Phillies' Alec Bohm learning to balance the good with the bad on the big stage

“You want a right-hander against Marte, and you want a slider,” Thomson said. “That was probably the matchup.”

Said Bellatti: “I think [Marte] had an inkling I was going to come with a slider there, but executed down in the zone and got the out. That was a pretty intense situation to come into. I enjoyed it. I look forward to those again.”

Then came Castellanos’ cue shot down the right-field line — the Phillies’ second check-swing double of the week after Didi Gregorius on Thursday in Milwaukee — to score Bryce Harper from first base for a 4-0 lead.

A little history: Thomson joined Pat Moran in 1915 as the only Phillies managers to win their first eight games. The Phillies went to the World Series in 1915.

More history: Thomson became the first major league manager to win his first eight games since Joe Morgan won 12 in a row after taking the reins of the Boston Red Sox in 1988. “Morgan Magic,” as it was known, turned the Sox from a 43-42 disappointment under John McNamara to an 89-win division champion.

There’s a long way from here to there for these Phillies. But given the way the last eight days have gone, feel free to dream.

Knebel sore

After loosening before the ninth inning, closer Corey Knebel didn’t come into the game. It wasn’t because the Phillies’ took a four-run lead.

Knebel reported feeling “a little bit tight” in his shoulder and was told by Thomson to sit down. Rookie lefty Cristopher Sanchez pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation. Knebel was getting treatment after the game and will be reassessed Sunday, according to Thomson.

» READ MORE: Joe Girardi struggled to trust the Phillies’ young players. Will Rob Thomson be any different? | Scott Lauber

Hot Wheels

Five days after his wife gave birth to a baby girl, Wheeler delivered another gem.

Wheeler scattered two hits and struck out eight batters in six walk-free innings, picking up where he left off after being named NL Pitcher of the Month for May. In his last eight starts, dating to April 28, the Phillies ace has allowed eight earned runs in 50⅔ innings for a 1.42 ERA.

The Diamondbacks got only one runner into scoring position against Wheeler. But David Peralta was left stranded after his one-out double when Wheeler got Alec Thomas to fly out and struck out Geraldo Perdomo.

“A little bit of rust, but it was fine,” Wheeler said. “Good enough. Just an all-around good week. Obviously, the birth of my little baby girl, it’s awesome. And to come out here and perform well today, it’s just icing on the cake.”

Second nature

Thomson doesn’t want to push Gregorius after a month on the injured list. And with infielders Nick Maton (shoulder) and Johan Camargo (knee) sidelined, he moved Stott to shortstop and turned to Vierling for a spot start at second base.

Sure enough, he got a grounder in the first inning, fielded the final out, made several plays in between, and even nearly turned a double play in the ninth inning.

“It’ll find you,” said Vierling, who was using one of Stott’s infield gloves because his is not yet broken in. “I had a feeling if I’m out there, the ball was going to get hit to me a lot. But it was good.”

The Phillies drafted Vierling as an outfielder but realized he could play the infield in 2020 when he talked the coaches into letting him do it in the Florida instructional league.

Up next

Ranger Suárez (4-3, 4.42 ERA) will start Sunday in the series finale against the Diamondbacks, who have not named a starter. The Miami Marlins visit for three games beginning Monday night.