CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds played well without first baseman Joey Votto, winning 32 games while he was on the disabled list with a knee injury. Votto was activated Tuesday but did not play. Again, no problem for the NL Central-leading Reds.
Jay Bruce provided all the offense the Reds would need with a two-run home run in the sixth inning as the Reds defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.
"Those are the types of games championship teams win, when you have a one-run lead late like that," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Cincinnati (83-54) reduced its magic number to clinch the NL Central title to 18. The Reds, who have the majors' second-best record, hold an 8 1/2-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals with 25 games remaining.
Reds starter Mat Latos (12-4) allowed one run on four hits in seven innings. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and closer Aroldis Chapman recorded his 35th save, his 27th in a row since June 24.
"Great to know you can go seven innings and turn it over to a bullpen where it's automatic outs," Latos said.
Philadelphia (65-71) had won six consecutive games at Great American Ball Park.
Kyle Kendrick (8-10) allowed just Bruce's 31st homer in six innings. He had won his previous four starts. Four Philadelphia relievers combined to blank the Reds over the final three innings.
Defense helped stave off potential rallies by both teams early in the game.
Ryan Howard led off the Phillies' second inning with a single, but Reds right fielder Bruce made a leaping grab of Nate Schierholtz's drive in foul territory to end the inning.
Cincinnati had runners on the corners with two outs in the third, but Phillies catcher Erik Kratz picked off Latos at third base for the final out.
In the Phillies' fourth, Chase Utley doubled with one out and Howard was hit by a pitch. John Mayberry Jr. walked on a borderline 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Latos then walked Domonic Brown on four pitches to force in the game's first run.
The fourth inning ended on a disputed 8-4 double play. Umpires ruled that Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs caught Schierholtz's sinking liner, and Stubbs threw to second baseman Brandon Phillips to double off Mayberry.
"Basically our runners, they got all messed up," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who briefly argued the play. "We could have had a hit there and a run for sure. It's kind of how things go for us, huh?"
Replays indicated the ball skipped into Stubbs' glove.
"That ball dropped?," Kendrick asked. "Yeah. They're human. They make mistakes. What can you do? There's nothing you can do about it."
Jimmy Rollins collected career hit No. 2,000 with a double in the fifth, becoming the fourth player in Phillies history to reach that mark.
"That's big. Jimmy's career speaks for itself," Manuel said.
Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan and Bruce were the only players to collect two hits in the game. Bruce has homered in three consecutive games.
"We've been doing that well all year, coming from behind to win," Bruce said. "We can win games a lot of different ways."
NOTES: Cincinnati went 32-16 while Votto was out with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Votto is expected to start the series finale Wednesday. ... The Reds surpassed 2 million in paid attendance in their 68th home game, the fastest they've reached that mark since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003. Tuesday's attendance was just 17,806, however. ... The Phillies purchased the contract of infielder/outfielder Pete Orr from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Orr hit .258 with four homers and 33 RBI since being optioned to Triple-A on June 6. He made nine starts this season for the Phillies, all at second base. ... The Reds promoted right-handers Pedro Villarreal and Todd Redmond from Triple-A Louisville, and they purchased the contract of left-hander Tony Cingrani from Double-A Pensacola. Villarreal, 24, and Cingrani, 23, have no major league experience. ... Since the July 31 trades of outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, Manuel has used 13 different outfield combinations.
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