All that matters, really, is the Royals opened a four-game series Monday in the South Bronx with a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees.

That should be enough — considering that victories have been remarkably tough to come by here at Yankee Stadium over the last two decades. But let’s also add this: It wasn’t as easy as that score might indicate.

“We’ll take it,” designated hitter Billy Butler said, “and move on.”

It got a little tense, even after the Royals struck for two runs in the ninth inning. Doing so seemed to provide some breathing space after they squandered a bushel of scoring opportunities, and after they withstood major comeback threats by the Yankees in the seventh and eighth innings.

“That’s what the Royals do,” manager Ned Yost deadpanned. “They play exciting baseball.”

The Royals, with a four-run lead, tried to close out the game with Luke Hochevar. But they went to Greg Holland after Lyle Overbay opened the New York ninth with a walk, and Luis Cruz followed with a single.

Holland yielded a single to Chris Stewart, which loaded the bases with no outs and got the tying run to the plate. Holland responded by going into lockdown mode: He struck out the next three batters.

“You sit at third base and you almost don’t do anything,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “It just shows you how nasty he is. He’s throwing 98 or 99 and then drops a slider on you. It’s lights out every time he comes in the game.”

Holland got his 21st save in 23 opportunities and secured a victory for Jeremy Guthrie, who improved to 8-6 by winning for the first time in five starts.