Even as Boston pitcher Matt Barnes, center, continues to struggle, Manager Alex Cora still plans to use him as the closer. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

For Matt Barnes, August didn’t seem like it could get any worse after his blown save on Monday. But it took just a day for it to hit another low point.

The Red Sox have pulled out a pair of needlessly dramatic wins on back-to-back days – an extra-innings win over the Rangers on Monday, followed by an 11-9 survival over the Twins on Tuesday. Both have come in spite of Barnes, who looks lost and in a desperate search for answers as he struggles through a second-half collapse on the mound. After a career first half that made him a first-time All-Star, Barnes has plummeted so badly that his status as the team’s closer could be in jeopardy. His ERA in August now sits at 15.88 in 5 2/3 innings.

It’s a major problem that needs urgent addressing as the Red Sox fight for a playoff spot over their last 35 games of the regular season.

“I think frustrated is probably a bit of an understatement,” Barnes said Tuesday, after he faced three batters and didn’t record an out. “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me. … It’s a frustrating game. I don’t know if you’re going to find someone that’s more frustrated than me right now.”

Tuesday night went south quickly for Barnes when his second pitch to Josh Donaldson – a 95 mph fastball above the zone that was exactly where Barnes wanted it – was smashed to left for a homer that made it a two-run game. Then, Barnes lost the strike zone. He walked Luis Arraez on four pitches, forcing a mound visit from Manager Alex Cora, before walking Mitch Garver. Cora saw enough as he pulled him for Hansel Robles, who rescued Barnes and the Red Sox by retiring all three batters he faced.

“At the end of the day, it’s about winning ballgames right now,” Barnes said. “Plain and simple. I picked a bad time to start sucking, but it’s about winning ballgames. Even with my struggles the last couple of nights, guys have come through in the clutch to pick me up and we won both ballgames, which I think is really important. …

“I’m going to keep grinding, man. We have 30-some-odd games left, a little over a month before the postseason. I’m going to keep working. It ain’t gonna stop now. I anticipate fully getting to the postseason with this squad. I’m going to make sure that I do my part, and that’s the end of it, right? It’s not going to stop now. I’ll work with Bushy (pitching coach Dave Bush), I’ll work with AC, (Jason Varitek) … see if anything is going on. See if we can draw up something, find something. We’re going to keep working. We’re going to keep working. That’s kind of the bottom line.”

Could Barnes be out of the closer’s role for even a brief period as he figures things out? Garrett Whitlock was outstanding in picking up Barnes on Monday, and Robles had 10 saves with the Twins before his trade to the Red Sox. Both them and Adam Ottavino, who has closing experience, could be candidates if they change directions.

Cora said before Tuesday’s game that he’ll keep going to Barnes in late innings, but the manager admitted the Red Sox are concerned about him after another poor performance. Barnes is open to any role that’s asked of him, but he’s confident he’ll get himself right.

“I’m going to leave that decision up to AC and Bushy (pitching coach Dave Bush),” Barnes said. “I’m going to be ready whenever that phone rings. We’re going to continue to work. We’re going to get this right. Make no mistake – this is going to get fixed and I’m going to go back to being exactly what I was three weeks ago. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind about that.”

ON TUESDAY against Minnesota, the Red Sox led 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning. The Twins had a runner on second base with two outs when starting pitcher Tanner Houck was replaced by Josh Taylor.

Taylor threw a 95 mph sinker to Twins third baseman Luis Arraez, who grounded out to third, ending the top of the inning. Boston padded its lead with five runs in the bottom half. In the sixth inning, Martin Perez took over for Taylor. Eight more runs would be scored by the teams, and Boston held on for an 11-9 victory.

The winning pitcher? It was Taylor, who threw just the one pitch. Boston used seven pitchers in the game. Two were credited with a hold and Hansel Robles, who pitched the ninth inning, got the save. Tanner Houck, the starter who got 14 outs, got a no-decision.

It’s the third time this season a pitcher has gotten the win for one pitch: the Yankees’ Joely Rodriguez (Aug. 1) and Oakland’s Deolis Guerra (April 21).

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