Phillies will open 2013 home schedule with AL team

The Phillies will face the Royals, who they beat in the 1980 World Series, in their 2013 home opener. (AP file photo)

For the first time ever, a Phillies home opener will be against an American League team.

The 2013 season will begin with a three-game series in Atlanta on April 2 followed by the April 5 opener at Citizens Bank Park against the Kansas City Royals. Major League Baseball has yet to officially release next season's schedule, but three sources with knowledge of it confirmed details.

Year-round interleague play is forced by MLB's impending realignment that evens the two leagues to 15 teams each. (The Houston Astros are moving to the American League West.) Every division will be paired with another in an effort to balance the scheduling.

The Phillies will play 21 interleague games in 2013. They played 15 in 2012 and went 5-10 in those games.

The National League East will pair with the American League Central in 2013. In addition to Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians are scheduled to play in Philadelphia.

The Phillies are scheduled to make American League trips to Minnesota, Cleveland and Detroit.

They will also play a four-game home-and-home series vs. the Boston Red Sox with each city hosting two games. Boston serves as the Phillies' "natural rival" in 2013.

The Phillies open and close the season in Atlanta. The full schedule is expected to be released sometime in September.

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