KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jorge Bonifacio and Jake Junis are auditioning for 2018 jobs.
Bonifacio hit a three-run homer with two outs in the sixth inning to help the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Bonifacio’s homer, his 17th, came off Archie Bradley (3-3) with Paulo Orlando and Ramon Torres aboard.
“I was looking for a fastball,” Bonifacio said. “He throws 97. I was just trying to put the ball in play.”
He said he is unsure if he has established himself to be a starting outfielder for next year.
“I don’t know,” Bonifacio said. “I’ll just come ready for spring training and try to make the team.”
Bradley lost for the first time since July 14, allowing a season-high three runs.
“The greatest part about this is, this isn’t the end of the season for us,” Bradley said. “As much as we want to win and finish strong and finish the season on a high note, this is baseball. You’re going to make bad pitches and guys are going to hit them. For me, it’s just a reminder that I’m not invincible. Guys can hit pitches. Guys are going to hit pitches out of the park.”
Junis (9-3) allowed two runs on five hits, including A.J. Pollock’s home run in the sixth, to pick up the win. The right-hander’s nine victories are tied for the American League lead for rookies.
“I didn’t know that,” Junis said. “That’s pretty special. That’s more than I could ever ask for in my rookie season.”
David Peralta’s fifth-inning double scored Rey Fuentes, who walked and stole second, with the first Diamondbacks’ run.
Arizona right-hander Taijuan Walker was pulled after five innings in his final start before the postseason. He allowed three hits and one run, while striking out six and walking one.
“Felt good, felt strong,” Walker said. “I felt all my pitches were pretty solid today and it’s a good sign moving into the playoffs.”
Mike Moustakas grounded into a double play in the fourth, scoring Lorenzo Cain, for the only run Walker would allow.
Daniel Descalso’s run-producing triple in the eighth off Joakim Soria cut the Royals’ advantage to one run.
Mike Minor worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to collect his sixth save in eight chances. Minor has saves in his past six appearances.
“Mike’s filled that role really nice, really adjusted to it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s got great stuff. We know that, but you can have great stuff and not be a successful closer. You’ve got to have that special composure and competitiveness that he has.”
Zack Godley, who had a 3.40 ERA in 25 starts, made his first relief appearance of the year, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 3 and finished September with a .175 batting average (14 for 80) to drop his average to .299.
ZACK ON WEDNESDAY
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo made it official, announcing RHP Zack Greinke would start the Wednesday wild-card game against the Rockies. He said Greinke “felt great” after throwing 75 pitches in four-plus innings Friday. “There’s no mystery to it,” Lovullo said. “He’s been our horse all year long. I know he surpassed 200 innings. He’s won 17 games. He’s paced us on days where we needed somebody to pitch a big game. He’s been everything that we’ve needed all year long.”
GREINKE LACKED ROYALS’ VISION
Greinke told the Royals he wanted to be traded after the 2010 season and the club accommodated him by sending him to Milwaukee. Among the players the Royals received in return were SS Alcides Escobar and CF Lorenzo Cain, two integral parts of the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship club. “Zack was a phenomenal player, but Zack didn’t believe we were going to win,” Royals manager Ned Yost said Saturday. “Zack wanted to go somewhere he could win. I kept trying to tell him, ‘Zack, we’re going to win here. These kids are going to be good.’ But (he said), ‘I don’t believe it.’ After we won the World Series, I saw him at the Gold Glove banquet and made him tell me he was wrong. He just smiled said, ‘I was wrong.’ I had a good relationship with Zack. He really wanted to win. He just didn’t have the vision I had.”
Diamondbacks: C Jeff Mathis (fractured right hand) was activated and started, singling in his first at-bat. He was removed after five innings. . RHP Jimmie Sherfy has not pitched since Sept. 24 because of triceps tightness.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will have minor surgery Tuesday to remove “loose bodies” in the back of his elbow that caused inflammation and landed him on the disabled list in late August.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray, who is tied for first in the NL with a 1.79 road ERA, will start the finale.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas will be going for his 19th win, which would lead the AL.