The Cleveland Indians have found many different ways to lose in their epic stretch of bad baseball.
They came up with a new one Tuesday night in their 6-5, 12-inning loss to the Minnesota Twins.
A mental error by Cleveland first baseman Matt LaPorta allowed Darin Mastroianni to score the go-ahead run from second base on an infield hit to break a 4-4 tie.
Adding to the frustration for the Indians, who are 11-38 since July 26, was the fact they failed to push the winning run across in the 10th, despite having runners on first and third with no outs and the bases loaded with one out.
Mastroianni singled with two outs in the 12th and stole second off Scott Maine (1-1), the team-record 10th pitcher used by Cleveland. Alexi Casilla then poked a ball between first and second that second baseman Jason Kipnis fielded in short right. Kipnis ranged several steps to his left to reach the ball, but had to hesitate briefly because LaPorta wasn't on the bag. Kipnis threw the ball to first, but LaPorta never got to the base and Casilla was safe.
Mastroianni, who didn't stop as he rounded third, easily beat LaPorta's throw to the plate.
Manager Manny Acta wasn't pleased with the way LaPorta handled the play.
"That's a big mental mistake there," Acta said.
It appeared LaPorta thought the ball would go through the infield and was getting in position to take a cutoff throw from the outfield.
"You don't think, you have to see the ball go through before you become a cutoff man," Acta said. "That's pretty much a routine ball to second base. If that ball goes through, we don't need a cutoff man. It was too softly hit and they have one of the fastest guys in the game running with two outs."
Kipnis defended his teammate.
"This isn't all on Matt," he said. "We had plenty of opportunities to win. The game wasn't all on his shoulders. It's going to look like that, but it's not his fault. He didn't lose the game for us."
Acta was just as displeased with the Indians' inability to score in the 10th.
"If you can't drive in the runner from third with no outs to walk off a team, you pretty much don't deserve to win the ballgame," he said.
Kipnis started the inning with a single off Casey Fien and took third when Casilla booted Asdrubal Cabrera's ground ball to the right side. Carlos Santana, swinging at a 3-1 pitch, popped up meekly to shallow left and Kipnis couldn't advance. Michael Brantley was intentionally walked to load the bases and Russ Canzler flied out to shallow right.
Left-hander Tyler Robertson retired Lonnie Chisenhall on a fly ball to right, ending the inning.
"It was poor at-bats," Acta said. "You had the right guy up there. You had the cleanup hitter and the sixth hitter. We could not have a good at-bat there and drive the ball with the infield in."
Robertson (2-2) pitched 1 1-3 innings. Glen Perkins worked the 12th for his 12th save.
"We were fortunate to get the win," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Pedro Florimon singled home an insurance run later in the 12th. It was needed as Santana hit his 16th homer in the bottom half to get Cleveland within 6-5.
David Huff, in his first start of the season, allowed two runs in the first. Cleveland cut it to 2-1 in the bottom half on consecutive singles by Shin-Soo Choo and Kipnis and an RBI groundout by Cabrera.
Chisenhall tied it at 2 with a 428-foot homer into the Indians' bullpen in the second, but Eduardo Escobar's RBI groundout put the Twins ahead 3-2 in the fourth.
Cleveland loaded the bases on three singles against starter P.J. Walters in the sixth. Brian Duensing came on and struck out Chisenhall, then gave up two runs.
One scored when third baseman Trevor Plouffe misplayed a line drive by Casey Kotchman for an error. Ezequiel Carerra put Cleveland ahead 4-3 with a run-scoring groundout, hustling down the first-base line to beat the relay throw and avoid a double play.
Minnesota tied it at 4 on Josh Willingham's RBI single in the seventh.
Huff gave up seven hits and three runs over 4 1-3 innings in his first start. He had pitched twice in relief since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus, beating the Twins with 3 1-3 scoreless innings on Sept. 7.
The Twins, who have won 11 of 14 from Cleveland since the Indians took the first three meetings this season.
NOTES: Cleveland had used nine pitchers in a game in 1971 against Washington and 2006 against the Twins. ... Acta said LHP Rafael Perez (shoulder) is done for the season. Perez hasn't pitched since April 25. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner (herniated disk) will return in the next few days. Hafner has been on the DL since Aug. 6. He's hitting .239 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 60 games.