"That's called panic, and I don't try to panic," Gardenhire said of the talk. "It's getting late if you're like 15 games out. We're still 6 1/2 games out, I looked at who is ahead of us. I think we have to work hard, grind it out and get to the All-Star Game. If you're within striking distance then, you're battling OK. After that, it starts getting late."
Late or not, the production of the Twins' offense has been dramatically different on the road. The Twins have scored just 135 runs away from the Metrodome, ranking second-to-last in the American League behind the Royals (129).
Carlos Silva and Luis Castillo were sitting in the clubhouse following the loss on Monday night, discussing what they felt might be the solution. While talk has centered on potential trade targets, Silva and Castillo came to the consensus that no additional assistance is needed.
"One thing we say is that we don't need nobody here," Silva said. "We have the perfect team to win a lot of games."
The pieces might be there, but Gardenhire said that's not the only thing necessary to be successful. The skipper said it's time to start producing on the field.
"We won last year because people got the job done," Gardenhire said. "And it's not always having nine guys hitting at the same time. But you have to have groups hitting at same time. It can't be one or two guys hitting at the same time.
"We haven't really had a whole group going yet. So yeah, the players are here. You saw that it was done with this whole cast last year. Obviously you know you can do it, but have to start doing it on the field."
The reason trade speculation has seemed to increase lately is the delayed return of Rondell White.
White suffered a bit of a setback on Saturday, when soreness after his first game action sidelined him from playing a second day. The latest setback, in what has been a string of them, certainly raised some flags. But the news was better Tuesday.
Gardenhire's status report showed that White's calf felt much better. Still, he reported some mild soreness and tightness. The plan now is to just make progress as it's tolerable for White.
Shifting the order:
As expected, Jeff Cirillo was in the lineup on Tuesday, filling in for Nick Punto at third base.
Gardenhire said he's going to try to mix Cirillo in on Wednesday, as well. That could mean keeping him at third base and shifting Punto to shortstop. Gardenhire even suggested the possibility of putting Cirillo at second base if Luis Castillo needs a rest.
Cirillo wasn't the only new face in the lineup. Jason Tyner also got the start in left field. Gardenhire said he was just trying to mix up the order to see if the offense could see improvement.
It seemed to work in the game, with the Twins' bats generating nine runs on 13 hits. Cirillo went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, and Tyner went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. After the game, Gardenhire was asked how he liked his "new" lineup. He seemed pretty pleased by the result.
"You mix it up when you're struggling a bit," Gardenhire said. "So yeah, we'll try a 'new' one tomorrow."
Pair of fives: As Michael Cuddyer and Mets third baseman David Wright stood next to each other on the field chatting Monday afternoon, there was one distinct similarity that stood out. And that was the number on their backs (5).
The two Virginia natives have been good friends for some time. Despite Wright being four years younger than Cuddyer, the two developed a close friendship after Wright was drafted.
They even spent four to five years working out together in the offseason. Now that Wright's schedule keeps him in New York for most of the offseason, the two don't see each other as much. But Cuddyer said they still keep in touch and talk often.
But as for those identical numbers? Well, that just happens to be a coincidence.
"It's hard to believe, but it's a coincidence," Cuddyer said with a laugh. "When I came up, that's what was given to me. And apparently that's what was given to him. It's pretty funny."
Justin Morneau is looking for his 100th career home run in this series. His walk-off homer on Sunday against the Brewers was the 99th of his career. ... Cuddyer got hit by a ball while stretching pregame. A throw from a Mets player fielding at shortstop bounced once and hit Cuddyer in the side of the head. Though it stung Cuddyer a bit, he appeared fine and still started in right field. ... This road trip is designated as the family trip for the Twins. The club took a bigger plane so many of the wives and children could travel, too. But despite the extra room, the club still was delayed in its departure for an hour. Why? There were problems getting all of the luggage on board.
Down on the farm:
Alexi Casilla went 4-for-5 for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday. In his previous 10 games for the Red Wings, Casilla hit .439 with nine runs scored. ... Brad Baker gave up five runs over five innings in Double-A New Britain's 8-7 loss to New Hampshire on Monday. ... Anthony Swarzak gave up two runs, one earned, over six innings in Class A Fort Myers' 6-4 loss in 14 innings to Tampa on Monday.
The Twins will close out their three-game series with the Mets on Wednesday evening in a 6:10 CT start at Shea Stadium. Scott Baker (1-2, 7.33 ERA) will try to rebound from a string of poor starts as he faces off against Mets left-hander Oliver Perez (7-5, 2.93 ERA).