Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire still has plenty of doubt -- and an ejection to go with it -- after losing a protest over a long ball by Jim Thome in the top of the ninth inning that was ruled a double.
LaPorta homered leading off the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians a 7-6 victory over Minnesota on Friday night -- after Thome had an apparent homer taken away by the umpires even after a replay review.
"That was a good feeling," LaPorta said after being mobbed by teammates at home plate following his shot into the left-field bleachers. "I've never hit a walkoff. I can't remember doing it."
The game-tying hit off Perez, who had not allowed a run over 15 outings since June 28, came after Thome's pinch-hit drive was ruled a double. The umpires used replay to uphold their call, further upsetting Gardenhire. Some television angles showed the ball hitting a railing above the yellow home-run line atop the wall in left-center.
"Did you see it in HD?" Gardenhire said. "It's a home run. HD showed it plain as day. The angle from the side showed it plain as day, off the railing. Go ask the cook [in the Twins clubhouse]. He can tell you and he's from Cleveland."
Perez was seeking his ninth consecutive save and 14th in 17 chances.
"I'd rather get a save, but LaPorta picked me up," Perez said. "I made a mistake to Thome and thought it was gone."
The right-hander stayed loose by tossing a few pitches during the 3-minute replay delay.
"In my mind, I thought it was going to be a home run," he said. "So then I give up the single and it's tied anyway. The big thing is I got out of the inning.
"I'd take the same approach again. I've been going good for a month-and-a-half. I just made a couple mistakes."
Shelley Duncan had a two-run double in Cleveland's three-run first inning off Francisco Liriano, breaking the left-hander's 21-inning scoreless streak. Duncan scored when Trevor Crowe grounded into a forceout.
Liriano tied a career-high with six walks, making 109 pitches over 4 2/3 innings as his four-game win streak was snapped. He struck out six and allowed seven hits and four runs.
Cabrera's RBI single made it 4-0 in the second. Cleveland then got runners to second and third, but Liriano had three straight strikeouts to get out of the jam.
Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly got the Twins to 4-1 in the third.
Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings. He left after walking Mauer and yielding a one-out single to Jason Kubel. Justin Germano quickly ended the threat by getting Michael Cuddyer to bounce into a double play.
Casilla's two-run double off Rafael Perez got Minnesota within 5-3 in the seventh. Both runs were unearned after a throwing error by third baseman Nix.
Kubel's 14th homer in the eighth off Joe Smith made it 5-4.
Cabrera doubled and scored on a ground-rule double by Choo in the eighth. An over-zealous scoreboard operator triggered the fireworks that signal an Indians home run at Progressive Field. Maybe it rattled Choo, too. He was picked off second by Guerrier before the right-hander made another pitch.
Mauer, used at DH for the fourth straight game because of shoulder problems, went 0 for 3, but has hit .516 (17 for 33) with 15 RBI in his last nine games.Notes
- Minnesota signed its No. 1 draft pick, RHP Alex Wimmers, to a $1,332,000 bonus and sent him to Class A Fort Myers (Fla.).
- Cleveland signed its 11th-round pick, SS Hunter Jones from Lakewood (Calif.) High School. He is the son of former major leaguer Tracy Jones.
- Indians rookie C Carlos Santana had left knee surgery. The team expects him to be ready for 2011.
- Gardenhire said 1B Justin Morneau , out since July 16 with a concussion, told doctors he is feeling better and may start a rehab assignment soon.