Charlie Barnes throws four scoreless inning in Twins win

Charlie Barnes found out on Sunday that the Twins needed him — on short rest, no less — to start Tuesday’s series opener against the Tigers.

Given the conditions, Barnes gave the Twins everything they could have asked for — four scoreless innings on a pitch count — in their 3-2 win over the Tigers at Target Field.

His reward?

The Twins (70-87), who were thankful for his efforts, are optioning him back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Joe Ryan, who is returning from the bereavement/family medical emergency list on Wednesday.

“Charlie, and doing it on shorter rest, gave us a tremendous effort tonight,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Sometimes when you are on short rest, maybe it’s the stuff that’s maybe not where you wait it. Sometimes it’s the command that’s maybe one of the first things that you may see. He was in the zone pretty good. He made pitches when he needed to.”

And he often needed to, because he dealt with Tigers (75-82) baserunners during every inning of his start. While it wasn’t a clean outing, it was an effective one. For Barnes, who has now appeared in eight major league games this season, it was the first scoreless outing of his career.

“I kind of knew I was on a pitch count. I had some traffic in all four innings,” Barnes, who threw 68 pitches in the win, said. “I really just tried to execute and make pitches when I needed to. I found a way to do that tonight and keep them off the board, which is huge.”

So, too, did most of the relievers who followed him into the game. Jorge Alcala, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar (who was credited with the win), Ralph Garza Jr. and Alexander Colomé each appeared in the victory, all but Colomé throwing scoreless innings.

Colomé gave up a pair of runs in the ninth inning as the Twins just missed out on throwing their ninth shutout of the season, but he wound up collecting his 17th save of the season anyways.

“The guys on the mound came out, starting with Charlie, one after the other and did a great job making pitches. I mean every single guy,” Baldelli said. “… It was fun to watch our guys do it. They didn’t waste any time coming into the game, getting outs.”

Offensively, Byron Buxton’s legs and Miguel Sanó’s bat helped back their effort.

Buxton reached first on a walk in the third, swiped second shortly after, advanced on a flyout and came home to score on Mitch Garver’s sacrifice fly to give the Twins a lead.

“He always plays hard, gives himself a chance to make things happen and it doesn’t always have to be a homer, doesn’t always have to be a highlight-reel deal,” Baldelli said. “He makes very difficult on the opposition just by the way he plays the game.”

The Twins’ second run of the game came in the seventh on Sanó’s 30th home run of the season, marking the second time in his career that the first baseman has reached that mark. Max Kepler added the Twins’ second sacrifice fly of the night shortly after, which wound up being the deciding run.

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