The Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles began their four-game series Monday with a matchup that turned into a pitchers’ duel.

What comes from the mound could be elevated in the second game of the series Tuesday night in Baltimore.

That’s because the Twins will use right-hander Joe Ryan as their starting pitcher, and the Orioles will give the ball to lefty Bruce Zimmermann. Both pitchers have ERAs below 1.20.

“It’s a challenge right now,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of generating consistent offense.

Ryan (3-1, 1.17 ERA) has earned victories in each of his past three starts. Zimmermann (1-1, 0.93) has yielded just two earned runs through four starts this season.

The Twins, winners of 10 of their past 11 games, don’t want to waver from what they’ve been doing. They won the series opener 2-1 on Monday night.

“We’re coming off of a big series where we played well down in Tampa,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Right off the plane we come in here, there’s zero letdown. Our guys are locked in, intense.”

The key for the Orioles could be making headway against Ryan, who will aim to become the American League’s fourth four-game winner this season. Baltimore didn’t get much to show for some good swings in the Monday game.

“I thought we really squared up a ton of balls early in the game,” Hyde said after his team managed only four hits. “Nothing fell for us. Just not getting them to fall right now.”

The Orioles have scored more than two runs in only two of their past six games. That puts even more pressure on Baltimore’s pitching staff.

“We gave up two runs to a really good team,” Hyde said. “We just didn’t score … so we’re pitching great.”

The Orioles received a taste of what it’s like going against Minnesota’s bullpen. Baltimore didn’t produce a hit against any of the four relievers who followed Chris Paddack to the mound in the opener.

“They have a good bullpen,” Hyde said. “It’s tough to score off those guys.”

Zimmermann won his only previous meeting with the Twins, when he yielded two runs and struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings on June 1, 2021.

Ryan will face Baltimore for the first time.

Orioles designated hitter Trey Mancini was available for Monday’s game, but Hyde said the goal was to give him the day off as he recovers from sore ribs. Mancini could be back in the lineup Tuesday night.

For Minnesota, there’s the matter of finding good spots for third baseman Jose Miranda, who made his major-league debut Monday by going 0-for-4.

“The team is playing really well right now, so it’s a good moment to be here,” Miranda said.

Miranda won’t be limited to the hot corner. Baldelli, who sensed the newcomer was relaxed, said the 23-year-old could be used as a first baseman and designated hitter during this series.

“I think he’ll be able to give us everything we need right now,” Baldelli said. “I think he’s ready right now.”

The Twins placed first baseman Miguel Sano on the 10-day injured list due to a sprained left knee. They also optioned catcher Jose Godoy and pitcher Cole Sands to Triple-A Saint Paul as part of moves with the roster limit going from 28 to 26.

–Field Level Media