MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Joe Ryan pitched seven smooth innings for the Minnesota Twins, who got a two-run homer by Jose Miranda and a three-run shot from Trevor Larnach before hanging on for a 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday in the opener of a four-game series.

Ryan allowed one run and four singles while lowering his team-leading ERA to 2.96. The right-hander struck out nine and walked none, getting 15 swings and misses while topping his four-seam fastball out at 96.6 mph, according to MLB's Statcast. He threw 44 of 52 fastballs above his average velocity (93.7).

“He’s a different animal when he’s throwing that hard,” Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers said.

Ryan (4-3) has pitched into at least the sixth in each of his 11 starts.

“The ball’s coming out well, and it’s not just like he’s throwing hard,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s locating his pitches. He’s putting them in great places, and that’s a good combination for him.”

Alex Kirilloff’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning gave the Twins (29-24) enough insurance to improve to 5-1 since a seven-game losing streak.

Hunter Renfroe’s two-out RBI double in the ninth off Cole Sands put men on second and third for the Royals (34-21), before Jhoan Duran was summoned for the final out.

Duran hit M.J. Melendez on the foot with an 0-2 curveball, and Dairon Blanco reached on a slow-rolling single to third base that cut the lead to three. Maikel Garcia hit a similar ball up the line that Willi Castro fielded but threw off balance and off the bag for an error that allowed a second run to score.

With Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. at the plate, Duran induced a bouncer back to the mound to record his seventh save.

Miranda took Alec Marsh (4-2) deep to the bullpen beyond left-center in the third inning. Larnach hit a two-out fastball into the upper deck above right field in the fifth, a smash measured at 441 feet and 109.1 mph that gave the Twins a 5-0 lead.

Marsh finished five innings with seven strikeouts. He allowed three other hits - all singles - beside the home runs. But his only two walks came in the fifth, preceding Larnach's blast.

“Other than that I thought I was fine. Just unfortunate that out of the (five) hits, two of them were big flies with guys on,” Marsh said.

The Royals have their first losing streak since a two-game skid from May 4-5 and just their second since April 30. Their eight-game winning streak was stopped on Sunday in Tampa Bay.

Ryan's previous outing was a three-hit gem of seven shutout innings that stopped the seven-game skid. He improved to 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.

“They’re a really good team, so it was just good to get a win,” Ryan said. “The offense scoring so many runs allows me to be a little bit free-er in there, (get) a little bit more rest in between innings."


Royals CF Kyle Isbel was cleared for action after a full pregame workout but remained on the bench as a precaution, two days after fouling a ball off his face that caused a small fracture in his upper nose.


Royals: LHP Cole Ragans (4-3, 3.34 ERA) takes the mound on Tuesday night with a 13-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts with 19 strikeouts and just three hits allowed.

Twins: RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 2.57 ERA) pitches the second game of the series. In two starts at home this season, he has allowed only two runs over 11 innings with 14 strikeouts.


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