Trade rumors. Job security questions. The Twins just wanted to return from the All-Star break and work on turning around their season.

Yet those are the consequences when you spend half the season on pace to lose 90-plus games for the third consecutive year.

“It’s not about a number. It’s about the fact that were not even at .500,” Twins owner Jim Pohlad said before Friday’s game. “That’s my goal at first, just get to .500, and then you can improve on that from there. And that’s not good enough, it’s just the first goal.”

Pohlad missed a large chunk of batting practice because the Twins hit the field early for an extensive workout. It’s meant to knock off the rust from the All-Star break, but it could have doubled as a wakeup call for the work needed to play winning baseball.

It all clicked, as the Twins got an eighth-inning, go-ahead single by Joe Mauer to edge Cleveland 3-2, giving them a modest three-game winning streak. They also won on Friday for the first time all season.

They played snappy defense, with second baseman Brian Dozier and shortstop Pedro Florimon looking like a slick up-the-middle pairing. Righthander Mike Pelfrey labored, throwing 113 pitches over 5⅔ innings but giving up just two runs. Trevor Plouffe tied the score with a two-run single in the sixth before Mauer’s heroics in the eighth in front of an announced crowd of 36,283 at Target Field.

“A very exciting win to start the second half,” manager Ron Gardenhire said, “and a huge crowd out there which really lifted up the guys.”

The eighth inning looked like another lost opportunity. Florimon singled and Dozier reached on an error. Gardenhire could have had Plouffe bunt but elected to having him swing away — and watched him hit into a double play.