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09/03/12 6:45 PM ET

Brown back in Phillies' lineup

CINCINNATI -- Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown returned to the starting lineup on Monday in Cincinnati after missing significant action for the past week and a half.

Brown has been nursing tendinitis in his left knee, but said he felt ready to return to action.

"It's pretty good. It's getting better," Brown said. "I've just got to grind it out the last couple weeks."

The 22-year-old left-handed hitter had made just one start since July 24 prior to Monday, and said he's still feeling a little soreness some days.

"Some days [are] better than others, but I think I'm ready to play," Brown said. "We'll see what happens. It's been a little sore, but other than that it's all right."

Brown went 0-for-4 in the Phillies' 4-2 win over the Reds on Monday.

Phillies making late playoff push

CINCINNATI -- Don't write the Phillies off just yet.

After Monday's 4-2 win over the Reds, the Phillies stood eight games back in the National League Wild Card chase with 27 games remaining.

Philadelphia sat as many as 12 1/2 games back in the Wild Card chase toward the end of July, but have slowly begun to close the gap. The Phillies finished August with a 17-12 record, posting their first winning month since May (16-13).

"It's what you play for," said Juan Pierre. "We haven't had the season we were thinking of having, but we're still eight games out. So there's still the outside chance to do it. We're just going out here and playing and winning it -- and [we'll] see what happens. Before you know it, you could be right back in there or out of it. You never know."

The Phillies are hoping they can mimic the Cardinals' run of 2011, when they overcame a 10 1/2 game deficit to finish 23-9 in their final 32 games, win the Wild Card and take home the World Series crown.

"You have a bunch of guys here that have won a ton in their careers, and that's basically what they only know how to do," said Kevin Frandsen. "I think that's the mentality we have. It's expected of us to do that. We expect that of ourselves. I think a lot of people who write about us, write us off. I don't know if it bothers us, but we have a job to do -- and our job is to go win ballgames."

Entering Monday, the Phillies were behind the Braves and the Cardinals, who hold the top two spots in the Wild Card standings -- as well as the Dodgers, Pirates, D-backs and Brewers.

The Phillies are 7-3 in their past 10 games, and have won nine out of their past 11 against the Reds -- and 14 of the last 17.

Philadelphia has won the season series against Cincinnati in seven consecutive seasons, and is looking to continue the hot streak as the season comes to a close.

"We've got three weeks left, you never know what could happen," said Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown. "We're playing to get in the playoffs. That's what we play for. If we get in the playoffs, you never know what's going to happen."

Phils have short turnaround for Labor Day game

CINCINNATI -- The Phillies were wiping the sleep from their eyes on Monday morning, as they made it to Cincinnati just hours after losing a 3 1/2-hour game to the Braves in Atlanta.

Sunday's game didn't end until nearly 8:30 p.m. ET, and the Phillies hit the showers, the plane and then the hotel -- arriving in Cincinnati around midnight ET before showing up bright and early at Great American Ball Park for Monday's 1:10 ET matchup.

"You get used to it," said Juan Pierre. "It happens probably three or four times throughout the course of the season. It's toward the end of the season, so everybody's feeling the same way. You just battle through it, you don't use that as an excuse or even have that play into it."

The Phillies are 9-6 on Mondays this season, and 20-12 all time at Great American Ball Park.

Worth noting

• Jimmy Rollins needs just two more hits to reach the 2,000-hit mark for his career.

• The NL Central is the only division that the Phillies have posted an above-.500 record against this season (21-12).

Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.