Phillies get home slate started against Kansas City

The Philadelphia Phillies open the home portion of their schedule on Friday when they host the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

The home crowd should be in a decent mood, as the Phillies avoided a season- opening three-game sweep on Thursday in Atlanta thanks to a terrific effort from Cliff Lee, who tossed eight scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Braves.

Lee (1-0), who gave up just two hits and struck out eight. The left-hander, who plummeted from 17 wins in 2011 to six last year, didn't pick up his first win last season until July 4.

"Last year I got the first win on the Fourth of July," Lee said. "It's nice to get it out of the way on the first one, no doubt."

Chase Utley and Ben Revere had an RBI apiece in the second inning for Philadelphia, which won despite stranding nine runners.

"It's still way early," Lee said. "Obviously, we would have liked to have won all three. ... The first two are behind us. We're just trying to get a win under our belt and fortunately, we were able to do that. Hopefully, we can carry that into Philly and keep the momentum going."

Philadelphia will hand the ball to righty Kyle Kendrick on Friday. Kendrick, who went 11-12 with a 3.90 ERA in 2012, has never faced the Royals.

Kansas City, meanwhile, will pin its hopes on righty Wade Davis, who will be making his Royals debut after being acquired from Tampa Bay in a seven-player trade Dec. 9.

Davis made 29 starts in both 2010 and 2011, but pitched primarily out of the bullpen last season, posting a 3-0 mark with a 2.43 ERA in 54 games.

He has made one appearance against the Phillies, allowing three hits and three runs while walking two over 2 2/3 innings last June 24.

"It's going to be cold, it's probably going to rain and I'll probably be in the back corner of the box, trying to work a five-pitch at-bat without swinging," said Davis, who will have to bat. "Hopefully, avoid swinging at all."

Kansas City managed to salvage the finale of its three-game set with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, as Jeremy Guthrie tossed six strong innings and received just enough support in a 3-1 win.

After mustering just two runs, 12 hits and stranding 14 runners in dropping the first two tests, the Royals struck three times in the top of the fifth to provide Guthrie and the bullpen a lead they didn't relinquish.

Kansas City managed just five hits in this one, but received an RBI single from Chris Getz and a run-scoring double by Alex Gordon in the fifth. Gordon finished 2-for-4 on the day.

Guthrie (1-0) yielded only one run on five hits while striking out nine Chicago hitters before giving way to Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland, with the trio combining for a scoreless inning apiece to close out the victory.

The Royals and Phillies have split six regular-season games. Kansas City, though, last visited Citizens Bank Park back in 2004 when the Phils took two of three.

As part of the Opening Day festivities, Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt will be joined in throwing out the game's first pitch by another Hall of Famer in Kansas City's George Brett.

Schmidt's Phillies, of course, beat Brett's Royals in the 1980 World Series.