TORONTO - With Justin Morneau out for the series, Josh Willingham probably out for the series and Ryan Doumit unable to play Monday, it was time for the inexperienced players to get on the field.
And their fingerprints were all over the Twins' 6-5, 10-inning loss to Toronto.
The big blow, however, was given up by lefthander Glen Perkins, who served up a home run to Yan Gomes that tied the score with two outs in the ninth and sent the game into extra innings. Anthony Gose won it with a two-out single off Brian Duensing in the 10th, scoring Adeiny Hechavarria with the winning run.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game that, now that they are done facing contending teams, he can look at other players. Those other players nearly pulled one out.
"The guys had some opportunities to get some things done," Gardenhire said. "We actually got on a nice little streak there -- we were ahead. We had our closer in the ballgame. It's supposed to be our ballgame, but it didn't work out."
Esmerling Vasquez pitched fairly well through five innings as the Twins rolled out to a 4-1 lead. Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer in the third -- his 24th of the season -- and an RBI double in the fourth, and Joe Mauer added a run-scoring single in the fifth.
That was Mauer's only hit of the night. He was heckled during each of his at-bats by a Blue Jays crowd that had nothing else to do, and his 1-for-5 game left him with a .322 average, seven points behind the .329 of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who went 4-for-5 on the night the Tigers clinched the AL Central.
Vazquez was removed with two outs in the sixth after giving up a two-run double to Jeff Mathis that made it 4-3. Jamey Carroll's RBI single -- he went 3-for-4 with two runs scored -- in the seventh made it 5-3. Then things unraveled.
Tyler Robertson was brought in the seventh for a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup with Adam Lind. Lind won the battle, stroking a RBI double that cut the lead to 5-4.
"He left the pitch up," Gardenhire said.
Perkins is a veteran, but he might be gaining experience as a closer. His 1-0 fastball was down and in to Gomes, who drove the pitch over the left-field wall to tie the score.
"That's the third time I've been beaten on that pitch," said Perkins, who has blown four of 20 save opportunities, "so I've got to re-evaluate that."
The Twins got their first two runners on base in the 10th. Matt Carson tried to bunt them over but deadened the ball right at home plate, which led to a forceout at third. Denard Span walked to load the bases. But Drew Butera popped up, not nearly deep enough to score Alexi Casilla from third. Pedro Florimon then took a curveball by Brandon Lyon for strike three to end the inning.
Anyone could have stepped up to execute properly or come through with a big hit to leave a positive impression as the season winds down. Instead, the Twins lost for the 94th time in 2012.
"We had some chances," Gardenhire said. "Didn't have many good at-bats."