CLEVELAND -- Thanks in part to an inadvertent gesture in the dugout, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire kept his Twins from taking another one on the chin.
It was only the third win in 22 games for the battered and reeling Twins, who caught a break when Gardenhire decided to scratch his chin.
Thinking he was supposed to give Joe Benson a green light to steal, third base coach Steve Liddle relayed the signs. Benson was thrown out to end the ninth inning with Tosoni at-bat as a pinch-hitter.
Gardenhire had Tosoni replace Benson in right field and was rewarded when the rookie drove a 1-1 pitch from Tony Sipp (6-3) into the right-field stands leading off the 10th.
"Benson took off," Gardenhire said. "Steve thought I had given the green light when I was actually scratching my chin. It's just fitting. Then he got thrown out, so I had to kind of ad-lib. We just did a flip-flop, but it caught me by surprise. It worked out pretty good."
The Twins have 98 losses with three games left and cannot tie the 1982 club for the worst record (60-102) since the franchise moved to Minnesota 50 years ago.
Cleveland had a four-game winning streak snapped. The Indians finished 44-37 at home.
The crowd got a big surprise when Jim Thome played third base in what could be his last appearance at Progressive Field. The 41-year-old slugger, reacquired last month from the Twins, took the position for one pitch in the ninth.
"It was a nice gesture," he said. "It was fun."
Thome got a standing ovation as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. When he walked, the crowd booed Twins pitcher Glen Perkins. Moments later, fans cheered again as Thome went to third -- where he started his career in 1991. He had not played there since Sept. 29, 1996. The next year, he moved to first base and after 2002 played for four teams, including the Twins, until returning to Cleveland last month.
"I just wanted Trevor to bunt the first pitch before (Thome) got taken out," Gardenhire chuckled. "He didn't, but I really wanted him to drop a bunt down on the first pitch just to entertain ourselves."
Thome has 604 homers, eighth on the career list, and has not announced if he will return for a 22nd season in 2012. On Friday night, the Indians unveiled plans for a statue in his honor at the ballpark.
"I still love to play," Thome said. "I still want to play. The percentage is higher of my coming back than not."
Denard Span opened the game with a gift double as Cleveland's Shelley Duncan misjudged his line drive to left field. Ben Revere followed with a single up the middle, scoring Span. One out later, Parmelee singled Revere to third and Danny Valencia followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Lonnie Chisenhall's two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded tied it in the bottom half.
Duncan hit a two-run homer -- his seventh in September and 11th overall -- off Twins starter Liam Hendriks to put Cleveland ahead 4-2 in the third. It gave him eight RBIs in the past three games against the Twins. He has 22 of his 46 RBIs on the season this month.
Span tripled in the fifth and scored on a groundout by Revere to get Minnesota within 4-3.
Plouffe tied it with his eighth homer, a 425-foot shot into the left-field bleachers in the sixth.
Hendriks gave up four runs and seven hits over six innings. He is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA since being called up Sept. 6.
Indians starter Fausto Carmona yielded four runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Revere extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. ... Indians 1B Matt LaPorta will go to Haiti in October for four days to help with ongoing relief efforts for victims of the devastating earthquake there in 2010. ... All Indians players and coaches were stationed at various entrances to the ballpark, greeting fans before the game and thanking them for their support. ... Cleveland's season attendance of 1,840,835 was an increase of 449,191 over 2010. ... Minnesota closes the season with three games at home against Kansas City. Right-handers Kevin Slowey (0-7), Anthony Swarzak (3-7) and Carl Pavano (8-13) are scheduled to pitch for the Twins. ... Cleveland will start three right-handers in its final series in Detroit: Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3), Jeanmar Gomez (5-2) and Zach McAllister (0-1).