Preview: Twins at Yankees

Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone throws against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning Monday, June 22, 2015, in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Tommy Milone throws against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning Monday, June 22, 2015, in Minneapolis.

The .500 mark is something the New York Yankees would like to stop discussing.

Every time the Yankees get there, they have not been able to put together a long stretch of wins.

New York gets another opportunity to even its record Friday night when it hosts the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game series.

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On May 24, the Yankees evened their record at 22-22 with a 6-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

At the time, third baseman Chase Headley said: "It's a milestone for us. When things are going bad, you set your sights to get back to .500 and then you go from there. We've had to play really good baseball to get back here, but we're here and now we've got to keep going, keep building."

The Yankees fell into a slump instead, losing eight of 12 to fall to 26-30. They won five straight to get to 31-30 with a 4-0 win over Detroit on June 10 and followed it up by losing four in a row to drop back to 31-34.

The latest chance was Saturday in Minnesota, when New York came back from an early four-run deficit for a 7-6 win. The next day, the Yankees were unable to complete the sweep to get over .500 and followed it up with an 8-4 loss Tuesday to Colorado, which one New York tabloid described as "did not compete ".

New York was two innings away from dropping to three games under .500 again but scored five times in the final three innings Wednesday and copped a 9-8 victory. Starlin Castro capped a game that saw the Yankees blow an early four-run lead with a game-winning home run to start the ninth, putting the Yankees within one game of .500 for the eighth time in the last month.

"It's getting that time of year where we need to start putting some good baseball together," Headley said after Wednesday's win. "It seems like every time we've put a good stretch together, we've kind of backed that up with three or four losses in a row. We needed to stop the bleeding today."

New York has not done much bleeding against the Twins recently. The Yankees have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including three straight at home.

Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound and will make his ninth start with at least five days' rest. He is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA pitching on extended rest after allowing one earned run and seven hits over eight innings in last Friday's 8-2 win.

Minnesota had a three-game winning streak stopped with Thursday afternoon's 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, which manager Paul Molitor viewed as a setback after the team scored 27 runs and batted .352 during the streak.

"We've seen some positive things," Molitor said. "Guys are starting to swing the bats a little bit better. Maybe a little bit of a step back for us today overall. "

Ricky Nolasco allowed four runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings while the bullpen gave up three more runs. The Twins' bullpen leads the league with 130 runs allowed, including 20 by Kevin Jepsen. Minnesota had six hits Thursday, marking the 31st time the Twins were held to three runs or fewer.

Tommy Milone will begin his second stint of the season Friday for the Twins and hopes it goes better than his first. Before going 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Rochester, Milone was 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in five appearances (four starts), leading to his demotion to the minors.

Milone's last start was April 25 against Cleveland when he allowed two runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

He is 9-7 with a 4.56 ERA in 32 starts and three relief appearances for Minnesota since being acquired from Oakland at the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline.

Milone is 0-1 with a 2.75 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.

The Twins may be without third baseman Trevor Plouffe on Friday due to a mild right groin strain. He exited Thursday's game in the seventh inning and is listed as day-to-day.