CINCINNATI -- For the past few weeks, the Phillies have had the same mantra -- one game at a time.
The playoff dream, while still alive, may be a little far-sighted, but that's certainly not going to stop the club from trying.
The Phillies lived up to that sentiment Wednesday, producing a solid all-around effort that allowed them to coast to a 6-2 win over the Reds in the rubber game at Great American Ball Park.
Philadelphia is now 9-4 in its past 13 games and 20-14 since the beginning of August. The club sits just five games below .500 with 25 remaining, seemingly hitting its hottest streak of the season.
"We played some pretty good teams in July and August," said starter Roy Halladay. "We come into a series against good teams like this, and we feel like we have a shot to win the series. Earlier in the year, that wasn't so much the case."
Halladay's efforts of late have been one of the biggest reasons the Phillies have seen the tides turn.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner, who was sidelined for nearly two months with a strained latissimus dorsi in his throwing shoulder earlier this year, has made a steady comeback in recent weeks.
Halladay was on point Wednesday, holding the Reds to one run on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings of work, marking the sixth time in seven starts he's thrown at least seven innings.
"I felt like I could have kept going," said Halladay, who was pulled before facing Joey Votto for the fourth time, after the Reds first baseman reached the first three at-bats. "I think if I had got Votto out a couple times before, they might have stuck with me there. My stuff tailed off when I first came back. [In prior starts], in the sixth, seventh inning, I felt like the stuff was kind of tapering a little, but I didn't feel that way today. I felt that when I went out, I was loose and still felt strong."
Halladay's outing proved to be more than ample for the Phillies, who jumped all over Reds starter Mike Leake early, tallying three straight singles off the righty in the second, with Domonic Brown's base knock driving in the first run of the game.
With two on and no out, Erik Kratz stepped up next and launched a three-run home run to left to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
"It was good that we got a lead today. We jumped out and got ahead of them," said manager Charlie Manuel. "Kratz did a good job. He keeps hitting home runs, he might be Babe Ruth. He's got some RBIs. I always talk about run producers, Kratz has been doing that."
The win was all but booked once the Phillies grabbed the four-run advantage. Halladay entered the game 109-0 in his career when given a lead of at least four runs, and his teams are 121-9 (.931) in those games.
Wednesday was no different, as Halladay cruised to his ninth win of the season.
The Phillies tacked on two more runs in the third for insurance. Juan Pierre drew a leadoff walk and Chase Utley homered to dead center on the next pitch to increase the lead to 6-1.
Philadelphia ended Leake's day after 2 1/3 innings, tallying six runs and six hits off him.
"They've got a good plan and make me work," said Leake, who is 0-3 with a 9.33 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. "They know what they're doing. They're all a bunch of great veteran hitters. I just haven't been able to figure them out yet."
In contrast, Halladay seems to have the Reds' number, holding a 4-1 record with a 2.85 ERA against them in eight regular-season starts.
And as Halladay continues to build up his arm strength again, Manuel said the best may still be yet to come.
"He'll pick up some more velocity," Manuel said. "When he does, that's what makes him tough. He'll get that. He's got a lot of movement. I think when he starts feeling right and gets his mechanics down right, that'll help him, too. He just ain't quite right yet, but he's getting there."
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.