Bubba Starling walks it off for Royals in a Cactus League win over the San Diego Padres

Bubba Starling’s red-hot start to spring training continued with a walk-off walk to give the Royals a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres in front of an announced crowd of 3,342 at Surprise Stadium on Thursday.

Starling, a former first-round pick out of Gardner Edgerton High School who is entering his eighth professional season, drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count with two outs in the ninth inning, forcing in Meibrys Viloria. Starling walked twice in the game and picked up his fifth RBI in five games. He’s batting .667 and has two home runs this spring.

The Padres scored their two runs on a third-inning two-run home run by Luis Urias off Royals reliever Jake Diekman. Diekman, who signed with the Royals on Feb. 13, started off his first Cactus League outing of the spring by retiring the first two batters, but he walked Manuel Margot and then gave up the homer to Urias.

“Two-seam (fastball) in,” Diekman said of the pitch. “I tried to get really cute and it just stayed down the middle.”

Diekman said he made it a point to throw his change-up. He threw five or six just to build confidence in that pitch, and he got a ground-out and a strikeout with it.

Salvy sits: Royals catcher Salvador Perez got the day off after being in the lineup as designated hitter on Wednesday. He’d experienced elbow soreness, according to Royals manager Ned Yost. Perez had taken some extra batting practice, and he’d done a lot of throwing in workouts, Yost said.

Duffy update: The Royals expect to re-evaluate pitcher Danny Duffy on Saturday. He was backed off this week due to slight shoulder tightness, though the concern level was low from both Duffy and Yost.

Bartender, another one: Royals outfielders Billy Hamilton, Brian Goodwin, Brett Phillips and pitcher Brad Keller were among the major-league players planning to serve as celebrity bartenders at Thursday night’s Ninth Annual Celebrity Bartender Night sponsored by Issues Concerning Athletes. The event is a fundraiser for Amyloidosis Support Groups. Amyloidosis is a rare disease caused by the buildup of amyloid in organs or tissues.

Up next: The Royals will play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 2:10 p.m. Friday in Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Right-handed pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez is scheduled to start for the Royals.

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.