Jared Burton has given up home runs in three of his five appearances this season, and Tuesday night was the worst. After recording two easy groundouts to open the ninth inning, the Twins righthander walked three consecutive Blue Jays batters to load the bases, then grooved a 90-mile-per-hour cut fastball that Brett Lawrie hit off the upper-deck facing at Target Field.

That grand slam doubled the number of runs Burton has given up this season, plumping up his ERA to an alarming 14.40.

Fortunately, the Twins setup man has pinpointed the problem.

“I’m just human,” Burton said following the Twins’ 9-3 loss to Toronto. “We’re under a little bit of a microscope, and when we struggle it shows.”

In other words, don’t worry about Burton. As he points out, he goes through ups and downs every season, just like all pitchers. Last season he had an ERA of 11.00 from June 6 to July 1, yet he still finished the season at 3.82. In 2012, his ERA was at 14.73 during a four-appearance stretch May 13-24, but his 2.18 mark over the entire season persuaded the Twins to guarantee him $5.5 million over two years.

“We all go through these phases,” Burton said. “It’s just a matter of stopping a slump and starting a streak. That’s what I’m going to be trying to do, day in and day out.”

His manager hasn’t lost any faith in him. Ron Gardenhire said he still intends to use Burton in his normal eighth-inning role whenever those situations come up.

“Burtie’s a good pitcher,” Gardenhire said.

“He’s just got to pitch through it. He’s a big-leaguer, he’s got good stuff.”

At the moment, though, his ability to put those pitches where he wants them has waned.