However, that is exactly the part they'll try to play again on Tuesday against the White Sox in Chicago.
The White Sox trail the Tigers by five games atop the division, with the three-game set against Minnesota acting as a pivotal matchup before a weekend series in Detroit.
"We'll see what we can do to irritate them. We're just going to try to play though," Gardenhire said. "I like to shake hands at the end of the game. I don't care where you're at in the division, I don't like losing, no matter what. It's not about so much trying to end somebody else's season as it is to start having a little fun with ours and shaking hands at the end of the game."
Gardenhire especially likes the idea of beating a division opponent like the White Sox and manager Ozzie Guillen.
"Irritating Ozzie is always kind of fun because I love to see him in their dugout," Gardenhire joked. "He makes me laugh, he's always funny."
Guillen will send Zach Stewart, who's trying to regroup after allowing seven runs on seven hits in a loss on Wednesday against the Angels, to the hill.
"Up and down," Stewart said after the start. "I felt like a couple times, from hitter to hitter, I was good and then bad. It was just one of those nights where I wasn't fully getting the feel the whole time. I felt like my stuff was good. If I hit some of my spots in those situations, it turns out a little better."
The right-hander's had recent success against the Twins, beating them at Target Field on Aug. 6 in his first White Sox start. He threw 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on eight hits.
Twins: Swarzak takes mound
Making his first start since July 18, Anthony Swarzak has been used in a long relief role since then. Apart from allowing five runs over 3 1/3 innings on Thursday against the Orioles, Swarzak has done quite well in the part.
In his only career start against the White Sox, Swarzak gave up just one run on four hits on July 10 for the win.
Joe Mauer was out of the lineup because of a stiff neck for the sixth straight game on Monday night, but the Twins catcher said he may return to action on Tuesday.
Mauer, who strained his neck while lunging for a popup while playing first base last Tuesday, took batting practice on Monday.
"I'm just trying to get over that soreness and get to where I can move my neck and get out there and play," Mauer said. "I feel like I'm real close, though, and that's good. I'm excited about it."
White Sox: Konerko back at first
After 22 straight starts at designated hitter because of a sore left calf/knee, White Sox captain Paul Konerko returned to first base for Monday's series opener against the Twins.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said that Konerko could get Tuesday off or go back to DH if he felt sore following the effort. However, Konerko wants his return to be a permanent one for the rest of the 2011 season.
"I don't want it to be where I play for a day and need three off," Konerko said. "I want to be out there every day. I just felt like right now is the best time to give it a chance."
Minnesota's Justin Morneau was out of Monday night's lineup against the White Sox to rest a sore left shoulder, which he injured diving for an Alex Avila grounder in the second inning of Sunday's game against the Tigers. The Twins don't expect Morneau to miss more than one game.
General manager Ken Williams had a very simple take on what the White Sox need to do to catch the Tigers over the season's final month. "We need to win series, and sweep a few," Williams said.