Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Bonifacio powers Royals to win after Duffy's gem

Outfielder provides offense with homer, 3 RBIs in shutout victory
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- In the first inning on Saturday afternoon, Jorge Bonifacio provided all the offense the Royals needed.

Bonifacio hit a towering fly ball inside the left-field foul pole off White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez, giving Kansas City a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish. The long ball, Bonifacio's first of the year following an 80-game suspension for PEDs, boosted the Royals to a 5-0 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- In the first inning on Saturday afternoon, Jorge Bonifacio provided all the offense the Royals needed.

Bonifacio hit a towering fly ball inside the left-field foul pole off White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez, giving Kansas City a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish. The long ball, Bonifacio's first of the year following an 80-game suspension for PEDs, boosted the Royals to a 5-0 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"I just texted [general manager Dayton Moore], 'great to have [Bonifacio] back,'" manager Ned Yost said. "He's just a really important part of our lineup, and today was another example.

Video: KC@CWS: Yost on Duffy, Bonifacio in a 5-0 victory

"We all move on, and he's done a good job with it. He's not dwelling on [the suspension]," Yost said. "He knows he made a mistake, he knows he paid for it, and now he's [moving on]."

The win was the Royals' second in their last 14 games, and the seventh shutout of the season. Over their last four games, the Royals -- who entered the game with the fewest runs scored in the Majors -- have averaged more than six runs. Salvador Perez delivered the finishing touch with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Video: KC@CWS: Perez smacks an opposite-field 2-run home run

Looking purely at the Statcast™ numbers, Jorge Bonifacio's first-inning fly ball resulted in an oddity. An exit velocity of 95.5 mph and launch angle of 45 degrees combined to give Bonifacio a one percent chance of a hit, a similar chance prescribed to most lazy flyouts or popups.

But Bonifacio's fly ball kept going, hanging in the air for nearly six seconds, and ultimately landed in the White Sox bullpen.

"I really don't know," Bonifacio said when asked how he kept his homer fair. "I thought it was foul. When I hit it, it was fair and then it [looked] foul. And I don't know how it [stayed] fair. I try to keep my hands in every time I get an inside pitch, but I really don't know how that ball was fair."

"It started off foul and then just came back, which means he's really staying inside the ball well," Yost said. "He's not getting that hook spin on it, which would slide it over."

Bonifacio added an RBI triple in the fifth inning, advancing to third when the Chicago infield did not properly cut off left fielder Daniel Palka's throw from the warning track. He tallied three RBIs for the fourth time in his career, the last time coming Sept. 30 against the D-backs.

Video: KC@CWS: Bonifacio rips an RBI triple to left-center

On the mound, starter Danny Duffy brought some stability to a rotation that has increasingly shown cracks following injuries to Ian Kennedy and Jakob Junis. Duffy went seven scoreless innings in his longest outing since June 9, striking out eight White Sox hitters.

Video: KC@CWS: Duffy fans 8 over 7 scoreless innings

"Trusting my fastball has been big these last couple months of the season," Duffy said. "That was one thing [Yost] told me when I was in the worst part of my struggles early on -- just gotta trust what I have in the tank. That's what got me here, my fastball."

Dating back to May 24, Duffy owns a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts (62 2/3 innings). He's completed six innings in nine of the 10 outings.

"The curveball comes off the fastball," Yost said. "He was using the curveball before, but the fastball was at a 40 to 45 percent rate of usage, and everybody was sitting on the curveball. … Now they've got to respect the fastball that takes him off the curveball, so his curveball is going to be much more effective."

Jason Hammel and Wily Peralta closed out the win for the Royals, combining for two scoreless innings in relief.

SOUND SMART
Whit Merrifield is in the midst of a 15-game on-base streak, which he extended Saturday with a single to lead off the game. Merrifield is hitting .435 (27-for-62) with six doubles, one home run and nine multi-hit games during the streak.

HE SAID IT
"I mean it's a valid question, it's not fun to go through losing streaks. While we feel the losses, we feel every loss and it hurts, we've gotta celebrate the wins, and they've been obviously few and far between for us this year. So it's definitely -- like I said -- definitely a valid question. We've been doing our best to treat each day like a new day, and there's an opportunity to win a baseball game every day." -- Duffy, on how the team keeps its spirits up during extended losing streaks

UP NEXT
The Royals wrap up their first half and three-game series in Chicago at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. Burch Smith (0-0, 5.83 ERA) will get the nod, but he will likely throw only 50-60 pitches in what Ned Yost described as a bullpen day. Smith made his only start of the season last Wednesday, giving up four runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Twins. Lucas Giolito (5-8, 6.59) goes for the White Sox.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Kansas City Royals, Jorge Bonifacio, Danny Duffy