Kansas City Royals’ Memorial Day rally falls short in series opener at Twins

The Kansas City Royals were foiled by Minnesota Twins ace Joe Ryan for the second time this season.

Ryan turned in another masterful performance on Memorial Day at Target Field, limiting KC to one run across seven innings Monday afternoon.

The Royals mustered just four hits and struck out nine times while he was in the game.

As a result, the Twins picked up a 6-5 victory in the series opener. KC fell to 34-21 and dropped its second straight game.

There were some tense late-game moments for Minnesota as the Royals nearly staged a ninth-inning comeback. KC scored four runs to make things interesting but couldn’t get any closer.

Ryan navigated the Royals’ lineup expertly. He located his four-seam fastball and mixed in a dynamic sweeper and slider. The heater topped out at 96.6 mph and generated 26 swings and 11 whiffs, per Baseball Savant.

The Royals failed to adjust to Ryan’s stuff. He retired 15 of his first 16 batters, with Bobby Witt Jr. providing the Royals’ lone hit during that span.

At the plate, the Twins set the tone fairly early in the game. In the third inning, third baseman Jose Miranda hit a two-run homer.

Later, Twins designated hitter Trevor Larnach added some key insurance runs for the hosts. He drilled a three-run homer into the second deck in right field.

Those mistakes haunted Royals starter Alec Marsh, who allowed five runs in seven innings and took the loss.

First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino hit an RBI single for the Royals in the sixth inning. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe doubled in a run during KC’s four-run ninth. The Royals’ other ninth-inning runs came via an infield single by Dairon Blanco and an error by the Twins.

Minnesota closer Jhoan Duran was eventually able to shut the door for his team’s 29th victory of the season.

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Here are more notable aspects of Monday’s game:

Kris Bubic takes next step in rehab assignment

Royals starting pitcher Kris Bubic was transferred to Triple-A Omaha on Monday.

Bubic, who is on a rehab assignment following Tommy John surgery, is getting closer to a potential return to the big-league club.

He has climbed the ranks in the Royals’ farm system in recent weeks. He began with the Surprise Royals in Arizona Complex League (ACL). Then he made some Double-A starts with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

In two Class-AA starting assignments, Bubic allowed five earned runs across five innings. It’s likely he’ll draw a few more starts with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers.

From there, the Royals will decide where he lands once his rehab assignment concludes.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals are back in action Tuesday night.

Southpaw Cole Ragans will make his 12th start this season. On March 28, he allowed two runs and registered nine strikeouts against the Twins.

Minnesota will start right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson. He owns a 2.57 ERA in seven starts.