Turns out that Roy Halladay will be making his return to the big leagues a bit earlier than anticipated.
Originally expected to make a third rehab start in Reading, Pa., on Sunday, the two-time Cy Young Award winner will instead toe the rubber for the Phillies following their 18-inning marathon loss to the D-backs on Saturday night.
In a game that registered as the longest in the history of both franchises, the two clubs combined to use 20 pitchers. One was Tyler Cloyd, the Phillies' originally scheduled starter for the series finale. Cloyd entered in the 12th inning and pitched five scoreless innings, rendering him unavailable for Sunday.
To fill the void, the Phillies elected to forgo Halladay's outing for Double-A Reading and instead send him to the hill for his first big league start since May 5. In his most recent rehab outing, for Class A Lakewood on Tuesday, he allowed seven hits, two runs and three walks with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg originally said that Halladay still had "some work to do" after that outing and could use the third rehab start, but that all changed following Saturday's marathon loss.
As for the D-backs, although they escaped the seven-hour, six-minute tilt with a victory and snapped their three-game losing streak in the process, they still did not make up any ground in the National League Wild Card race.
So after battling with the Phillies into the early morning, they will take another shot at chipping away at that seven-game deficit when they return to the diamond, looking to close out their 10-game road trip with a series victory.
After taking two of three from Pittsburgh to start its eastern swing, Arizona lost three of four to Cincinnati -- which leads by seven games in the hunt for the second Wild Card berth -- before dropping the series opener against Philadelphia. Now the D-backs have a chance to salvage a .500 record on the road trip before returning home for a nine-game homestand exclusively against teams in either last or second-to-last place in their respective divisions.
The D-backs will call on emerging ace Patrick Corbin, fresh off the second complete game of his young career. The 24-year-old southpaw stifled the Reds on Tuesday in the D-backs' lone victory of that series, limiting Cincinnati to just two runs off six hits while matching a career high with 10 strikeouts and zero walks.
"He can pitch," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He throws that fastball in and out. He comes right at you. Then he'll throw some breaking balls. He has a couple of different breaking balls. He threw the ball well tonight."
D-backs: Bloomquist, Montero nearing return
Though the D-backs will continue to be without shortstop Willie Bloomquist (contusion in left hand) and catcher Miguel Montero (strained lower back) on Sunday, the pair could return as soon as Monday.
The duo has been rehabbing together for the club's Arizona League affiliate and hopes to rejoin the D-backs for the series opener against the Padres.
"We'll see how they get through these next two games, how they play, what the reports say," manager Kirk Gibson said prior to Saturday's victory. "No. 1, you want to make sure they're healthy. The other thing is, are they ready? I think they're ready in their own mind, but I don't know whether to tell you they'll be back Monday, but I think it's reasonable to say we're looking at bringing them back next week."
Phillies: Brown's status up in the air
Slugger Dominic Brown is unlikely to play in the series finale after leaving Saturday's game early with soreness in his right Achilles. He had chased down an Adam Eaton slicing line drive in the left-field corner in the first inning, then struck out in his lone at-bat before departing in the third inning.
In the middle of a breakout season, the 25-year-old outfielder ranks third among NL hitters with 27 home runs to complement his .276 average and 80 RBIs.
• The Phils and D-backs have split the first six meetings this season. Arizona is seeking its first series victory against Philadelphia since 2007, when it took five of six.
• D-backs third baseman Martin Prado went 3-for-9 with a home run and three RBIs on Saturday. He is hitting .365 with four home runs and an NL-best 24 RBIs in August.