NEW YORK -- The last time the New York Yankees won six in a row, they were under .500.
On Saturday, New York will be attempting to match its longest winning streak of the season but will take the field with a winning record when it continues a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers.
New York won six in a row May 18-24 when it went from having a 16-22 record to being a .500 team. They were unable to get it to seven games and a stretch of eight losses in 12 games dropped the Yankees to 26-30.
During their first six-game winning streak, the Yankees scored 32 times. After scoring 37 times during the 12-game slump, New York has crossed home plate 33 times.
"It's big for us," Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia said. "We've been grinding and hopefully we continue getting better and leave that mark behind us. We've been playing a lot better. We're pitching well, playing good defense getting some big hits."
New York is over .500 at 31-30 for the first time since April 13. The Yankees went over by opening the series with a 4-0 victory in a game which featured seven effective innings from Sabathia, a two-run double by Didi Gregorius and Carlos Beltran's 11th RBI in the last five games.
"Our bad stretch was not as bad as other bad stretches so I think that helped," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said when asked what's different about this winning streak. "I just think that offensively we're swinging the bats different in this stretch and that's the difference."
To keep it going, New York will turn to right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who has struggled in two career games Detroit, allowing six earned runs and 13 hits in 11 1/3 innings.
He has not struggled recently or for most of this season. He ranks third in the AL with a 1.01 WHIP, seventh in ERA and fourth in walks per nine innings ratio.
Tanaka has allowed two earned runs or less in 10 starts this season, including Monday against the Los Angeles Angels when he allowed two runs and six hits in a no-decision.
The Tigers have been held to two runs in their last 18 innings after equaling a season high with five straight wins. They were shut out for the fifth time as Miguel Cabrera had a 10-game hitting streak stopped by going 0-for-4 and Mike Pelfrey struggled with command early.
"I thought I was good," Pelfrey said. "I don't think I was great."
Detroit will be hoping Justin Verlander can talk about pitching well even though he had a bad history at Yankee Stadium.
Verlander won his only start at old Yankee Stadium on Aug. 16, 2007, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-5 victory. Since the Yankees moved across the street in 2009, he is 0-4 with a 4.84 ERA in seven games.
The last time he faced the Yankees in New York, Verlander was on the other side of a milestone. On June 19, he gave up a home run to Alex Rodriguez for the designated hitter's 3,000th career hit and Verlander said "he definitely doesn't want to be part of history that way."
This time Verlander heads into a start on New York on a positive note having matched his win total from last season by going 5-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 starts.
Over his last six starts, the right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.01 ERA since May 8 and leads the American League with 52 strikeouts in that span.
He last pitched Sunday against the Chicago White Sox when he allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.