PHOENIX (AP) Nick Ahmed took a healthy swing in the eighth inning, but was a little off on his timing. The ball squirted off the end of his bat, rolling slowly up the first base line.

That gave Christian Walker time to sprint home with the decisive run for Arizona.

It was far from a classic, but these are the kind of games the Diamondbacks have lost for years. Now a few of them - including Monday night's 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals - are starting to go their way.

“We're not going to score 10 every game or throw a no-hitter,” Walker said. “So to win these tweeners, where we feel we have a chance to win, but it's a matter of executing and holding them off one more inning, for me, these are the games when you look back and you're proud of the season, these are the wins that need to happen.”

Ahmed - who was pinch-hitting - brought home Walker with his one-out roller off reliever Aroldis Chapman (0-1) that was essentially a swinging bunt. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino tried to get Walker at home, but the throw was late.

“That ball - you can’t plan for that,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “I thought Vinnie made a nice attempt.”

The NL West-leading D-backs improved to 13-11. The Royals have lost nine of their last 10 and fell to 5-18.

Arizona lefty Andrew Chafin (2-0) got the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out Salvador Perez and Franmil Reyes to end the game. The veteran reliever threw 35 pitches, a long outing by his standards.

“The adrenaline of the game is going to help push through any issues,” Chafin said. “Just taking it one pitch at a time and doing everything I can to get the job done.”

Edward Olivares hit a solo homer in the first to give the Royals an early lead, but the Diamondbacks built a 4-2 advantage by the fourth, scoring two runs in both the second and third off Kansas City starter Brad Keller.

Keller struggled to throw strikes, giving up four runs in four innings on four hits and six walks. He threw 95 pitches.

“He just didn't have his normal command,” Quatraro said.

Arizona's Tommy Henry threw 4 1/3 innings in his first start of the season, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks. The left-hander was called up from Triple-A to take the rotation spot of four-time All-Star Madison Bumgarner, who was designated for assignment last week.

The Royals cut the D-backs' lead to 4-3 in the fifth on Perez's RBI double and then tied the game in the eighth on Kyle Isbel's RBI single. Pasquantino had a three-hit night while Michael Massey and Perez both had two hits.

Arizona's Geraldo Perdomo and Pavin Smith also had two hits.


Royals: Reyes was reinstated from the paternity list. INF Nate Eaton was sent to Triple-A Omaha.

Diamondbacks: To make room for Henry on the roster, RHP Drey Jameson was optioned to Triple-A Reno. ... Walker was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game after getting hit by a pitch on the left forearm Saturday. He pinch-hit in the eighth and walked.


The three-game series continues Tuesday. The Royals will send RHP Brady Singer (1-2, 8.14 ERA) to the mound against RHP Ryne Nelson (1-0, 4.91).


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