The last time the Kansas City Royals visited Philadelphia, it ended with Tug McGraw striking out Willie Wilson to give the Phillies the only World Series title in team history.
Twenty-four year later, the Royals return to Philadelphia for a three-game interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.
Besides spring training games, the teams have not met since the Phillies beat the Royals in six games in the 1980 World Series.
Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa, the starting shortstop on the 1980 Phillies, is hoping for another strong start from Paul Abbott.
Released by Tampa Bay on June 3 after going 2-5 with a 6.70 ERA in 10 games, Abbott signed a minor league contract with the Phillies and was making his first career start for a National League team.
The 36-year-old right-hander allowed just three hits over five scoreless innings, but did not get a decision in Philadelphia’s 2-1 win over Minnesota.
“There’s no better way to mix in or fit in than to throw a good game,” Abbott said.
Abbott will now try to lead the Phillies to their sixth win in nine games. Philadelphia opened its six-game homestand by dropping two of three to Detroit.
After they were rained out on Wednesday, the Phillies and Tigers split a day-night doubleheader Thursday. Jason Michaels went 3-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs to lead the Phillies to a 6-2 win in the first game, but they fell 5-4 in the nightcap.
With the Phillies holding a 4-3 win in the ninth, closer Billy Wagner allowed game-tying homer to Brandon Inge, and the Tigers went on to win in 11 innings. It was Wagner’s second blown save in 11 opportunities this season.
“It was a bad pitch, down and over the middle,” said Wagner, who converted 44 of 48 save chances with Houston last season.
The Royals come to Philadelphia after routing Atlanta 10-4 in each of their past two games.
“This is what we thought we were going to be from the get-go this season,” May said.