ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Nick Blackburn, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday, turned in a strong outing in his first start with the Red Wings on Sunday.
Blackburn tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing nine hits without a walk and striking out two. It was a good first step for Blackburn, who had an 8.10 ERA in 13 starts with the Twins before being sent down.
"He chewed them up," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We need to see Blackie do that again and locate the ball. The big difference with Blackie is he's done it here. We know he can do it. It's about getting him confidence."
The Twins also want Blackburn to continue working on his sinker, as he had problems serving up homers with 15 allowed in his 13 starts.
"The problem with Blackie is he's been hurt by the long ball, which means his ball is flat," Gardenhire said. "If you give up a couple hits as a sinkerballer is one thing, but to misfire and give up a three-run homer is another thing. That's kind of what he was doing up here."