Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is well aware of the hoopla surrounding Yankees captain Derek Jeter and his final season, hoopla that will only increase as the weekend series progresses at Target Field. But Gardenhire doesn't want his team to think about any of that.
"There are a lot of festivities going on with Jeter and all that," Gardenhire said. "But the bottom line is, we need to win a series here before we go on our last road trip before the All-Star break. We played at their park and did OK, so now we need to do the same here."
The Twins will try to even the four-game set on Friday when right-hander Kyle Gibson gets the ball against Yankees righty Chase Whitley. Minnesota dropped the series opener, 7-4, on Thursday for its eighth loss in 10 games.
Friday marks the third time in two years that Gibson will face New York, but he'd like to forget the first two outings. Gibson allowed 11 runs (10 earned) over 10 1/3 innings.
Gibson has been very sharp of late, with a 2.61 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP in his last five starts. The numbers would look even better if not for a two-inning, seven-run effort against the Angels on June 24.
Gibson limited the Rangers to two runs in eight innings in his last start on Sunday. He scattered eight hits (one home run) and allowed zero walks for the fifth time in eight starts.
"Mainly because of the wind blowing out, my sinker was probably moving as most as I've ever seen it," Gibson said. "I think whenever the wind is helping my best pitch like that, I think it makes it more comfortable out there knowing that I can throw those just about any time. And with the way they're moving, it's going to be tough to hit."
Whitley, who will face the Twins for the first time, looks to regain the form that allowed him to open his Major League career with seven straight starts in which he allowed three or fewer runs. That run came to an abrupt halt in his most recent two starts, in which he allowed 13 runs on 19 hits in 7 1/3 innings.
In four innings against the Red Sox on Sunday, Whitley yielded five runs on eight hits. The big blow was a three-run homer by David Ortiz.
"He just made some mistakes that looked like they were in the middle of the plate," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after his team's 8-5 loss. "He was able to escape the first two innings and minimize the damage with some double-play balls, but then he gave up the big three-run homer."
Yankees: Teixeira OK after knee drained
After getting off-days on Wednesday, Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Thursday. Ellsbury went hitless, but Teixeira was 2-for-4 after getting his left knee drained the previous day.
The knee had been bothering Teixeira for a few days. He said there is no structural damage.
"I really don't mind needles. It's really the pressure of putting it in there and taking it out," Teixeira said of the procedure, which took just five to 10 minutes. "It hurts getting drained. Dr. [Christopher] Ahmad did a good job, though. I complimented him on his technique, because it hurts sometimes."
Twins: Parmelee streaking
When Chris Parmelee lofted a double to right field on Thursday, he did more than just give the Twins a first-inning lead. He extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Parmelee, who will likely get more regular time at first base with Joe Mauer going on the disabled list on Wednesday with a strained right oblique, is batting .467 (21-for-45) with a .489 on-base percentage during that run, which started on June 14.
"The one thing I've noticed from him this year is that it doesn't matter to him whether he's starting or on the bench," Gardenhire said. "He's just playing baseball. It kind of has helped him relax as a baseball player, and I think it's helping right now."
• Chris Colabello, who the Twins recalled on Wednesday when Mauer hit the DL, did not see action in his first two games back with the club.
• Zelous Wheeler, a 27-year-old infielder, made his Major League debut for the Yankees on Thursday. He homered in his second at-bat for his first hit.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.