"First, you have to have the opportunity to be here," said Gardenhire, who deflected the credit back to ownership, the front office, his coaching staff and the players. "This is 900 wins for our organization, and I just happen to be the manager and I'm proud of that. I'm proud of this organization, proud to be a part of it."
Minnesota was held hitless through the first 3 1/3 innings, but it broke out with a four-run fourth. Ben Revere, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham provided three consecutive singles to bring home the first run before Trevor Plouffe laced a two-run single and Ryan Doumit brought home a run with a single of his own.
"I really just didn't execute there in the fourth inning," Fister said. "I felt good the first three, and then the ball got up on me a little bit and they capitalized on it."
The Twins tacked on two more runs in the fifth, when Denard Span drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a single by Mauer after Revere singled. Mauer's single knocked Fister out of the game in favor of reliever Luis Marte. Justin Morneau came through with a hit to plate Revere, with the run being charged to Fister, who gave up six runs on eight hits over four-plus innings.
Right-hander Liam Hendriks appeared in line for his first career victory, as he took a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but it wasn't to be.
The first four batters Hendriks faced in the top of the fifth reached base. He gave up a two-run double to Miguel Cabrera and then left the game after walking Prince Fielder. Anthony Swarzak relieved Hendriks but allowed only a Delmon Young sac fly.
"It's too bad we couldn't leave him out there to get a win, but we've got to win a ballgame," Gardenhire said of Hendriks. "We're too many games behind right now to take too many chances."
As a result, Hendriks, who surrendered four runs on six hits over four-plus innings, was saddled with a no-decision to stay winless in 12 career starts.
"It's definitely nothing I think about on game day," Hendriks said of his winless streak. "It gets frustrating when it's not my day to pitch and stuff like this, but I try not to think about it too much. It's going to come. Tonight, the guys did a real good job of putting runs on the board, and I wasn't able to follow through."
Swarzak (2-4) picked up the victory by tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Hendriks. He left the game in the seventh with two runners on and two out, but Alex Burnett was able to strike out Brennan Boesch to get out of the jam. Burnett tossed a scoreless eighth before handing it off to Glen Perkins, who picked up his third save.
The bullpen's strong performance helped Gardenhire reach his milestone, and Swarzak said he was proud to be a part of it.
"It's great," Swarzak said. "He's had some pretty good players come through here in the past to get those 900 wins. He's a wonderful manager. He's fun to play for. So we'll see where it goes, and hopefully, he has a few more in him."