The postgame speech came after Kevin Correia was tormented by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, who provided two RBIs -- one on a solo homer -- to hand the Twins a 4-0 loss at Rogers Centre. It extended the Twins' losing streak to six games, as they've now lost 11 of their last 14.
"It seems like the air goes out of us too quick," Gardenhire said. "We need to rebound better. I told the boys, this is baseball, and they're making it like a job right now. That was the message for them tonight -- it's baseball and we're going to have some fun. These guys are working their tails off. They go out there and do everything they can but the games aren't clicking for us, so we need to go back to relaxing and having fun."
Correia, who gave up four runs on 10 hits and three walks over six innings to get pegged with the loss, said Gardenhire's postgame message was well-received by his teammates.
"We're just trying to stay loose," Correia said. "I think your first instinct when things aren't going good is to tense up and try to force something to happen. But that isn't a good way to play baseball. We need be loose and have a good time. That's how you usually play your best."
Bautista got the Blue Jays on the board in the third inning on a solo shot to center field. It was the 20th homer of the year for Bautista and his 19th against the Twins in 34 career games.
"I threw a bad pitch there," Correia said. "The home run was just a hanging curveball. He's obviously a very good power hitter and takes a big swing and doesn't really shorten up and is able to hit the ball on the barrel with that swing."
Toronto added three runs in the fourth, keyed by Correia issuing back-to-back walks to Maicer Izturis and J.P. Arencibia to open the inning. Jose Reyes brought home both with a double to right field before scoring on an RBI single to center from Bautista.
"I think the main problem in the fourth was two walks to lead off the inning," Correia said. "These guys are going to get hits. It's a very good lineup. They hit some balls that found holes and some right down the line, but it was the walks that killed me."
It was more than enough for veteran Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle, who tossed seven shutout innings to pick up the win. Buehrle, who was making his 50th career start against the Twins, gave up six hits and didn't walk a batter.
"I had everything," Buehrle said. "When my changeup is down and working, it's going to be a good day. I was 'strike one' a lot tonight and getting ahead in the count. I could throw pitches, my pitches, when I needed to, instead of behind in the count and having to throw fastballs in hitter's counts."
Minnesota had a few scoring opportunities against Buehrle, but went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Twins had runners on second and third with one out in the first, but Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe struck out to end the inning.
"That's what I'm talking about, though, where we don't get a run in and the air goes out of your tires," Gardenhire said. "We can't play like that. You have to keep grinding. It's like, 'Oh, we missed again.' But there's eight more innings, so we have to play it like that. My feeling is, we're just too tense."
Left-hander Brett Cecil pitched a scoreless eighth before handing it over to Dustin McGowan, who was able to preserve the win for the Blue Jays.
It was a continuation of the Twins' recent struggles, and it marked the seventh time this season that they've been held scoreless. But Correia sounded confident after the game that it won't continue to spiral, as he pointed to the fact that they bounced back from a 10-game losing streak in May as a reason for optimism.
"I have no doubt we're going to get out of it and go on a little run," Correia said. "We have nine games before the All-Star break, so it would be nice to go on a little run before the All-Star break and get a little refreshed and continue that."