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Choo sparks Tribe in debut as Sowers shuts down M's

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeremy Sowers had a good fastball, slider and
changeup -- then finished off his second consecutive shutout with a
sales pitch.

Sowers (3-3) allowed only five singles and Shin-Soo Choo hit his
first career homer in his Cleveland debut as the Indians beat the
Seattle Mariners 1-0 Friday night.

Sowers convinced manager Eric Wedge to leave him in the game
with two outs, a runner on first, and slugger Richie Sexson coming
to bat in the ninth.

"I wasn't crazy about him having to face Richie again," Wedge
said. "But he made it clear he wanted to finish and he deserved
that right."

Said Sowers, "It was real simple. He asked me, 'Can you finish
this game?' I said, 'Yes, I can, I'm fine.' That was it."

Sowers got Sexson to fly out on his 109th pitch as Cleveland won
for only the sixth time in its last 19 games. Seattle lost ground
in the tight AL West race with its second loss in six games and
AL-leading 11th shutout.

Choo, acquired Wednesday from Seattle for first baseman Ben
Broussard, hit a 3-0 pitch from Felix Hernandez (9-9) over the wall
in left-center with two outs in the sixth inning.

The crowd gave the 24-year-old a standing ovation when he went
out to right field the next inning, many crooning, "Chooooooo!"
One fan held up a sign with a locomotive drawn on it. The sign
read, "Choo, Choo."

"I don't know why they did it, but I like it," said Choo, who
had no difficulty going deep with his 426-foot shot, but had some
trouble dialing long distance after the game.

"I tried to call my wife in Seattle, but she didn't answer,"
he said.

Meanwhile, Sowers became the first rookie to throw consecutive
shutouts since Florida's Dontrelle Willis did it June 16-21, 2003.

Sowers walked one and struck out three, six days after tossing a
four-hitter and not allowing a runner to second base in an 11-0 win
over Minnesota. The left-hander, who went 9-1 with a 1.39 ERA at
Triple-A Buffalo, has not allowed an extra-base hit or a run in his
last 18 innings.

"I can't remember two straight shutouts, but maybe I did it in
high school," said Sowers.

Dick Tidrow was the last Indians rookie to pitch consecutive
shutouts, doing it July 31, 1972, against Milwaukee and five days
later against Detroit.

"No, I never heard of him," said Sowers, who was a 1-year-old
when Tidrow concluded his 13-year career in 1984.

Choo, who hit .323 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 26 stolen bases
for Triple-A Tacoma this year, walked his first two times up before
getting the green light on a 3-0 pitch.

"I know Choo well enough to know he can drive the ball out of
the ballpark," Hernandez said through interpreter Carlos Garcia,
the Mariners' third-base coach.

"I tried to throw a sinker away, but it stayed up and didn't do
anything."

Choo said letting that many pitches go past is not his usual
game plan.

"I know pitchers like to throw strikes, so I like to swing at
the first pitch," he said. "Just not tonight."

The Indians left eight runners stranded over the first five
innings against Hernandez. Andy Marte and then Casey Blake both
bounced into inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth.

Marte, the key player in the seven-man trade with Boston last
January that sent outfielder Coco Crisp to the Red Sox, was
promoted earlier Friday from Triple-A Buffalo. In the second
inning, he brought the crowd to its feet with a long fly that faded
foul his first time up, but eventually struck out.

Sowers was helped in the first inning by good defense.

Ichiro Suzuki opened the game with a single and advanced on
groundout. Adrian Beltre followed with a single to left and the
speedy Suzuki tried to score. But catcher Victor Martinez blocked
the plate, took a throw from left fielder Todd Hollandsworth and
applied the tag for a key out.

"That was a great throw," said Mariners manager Mike Hargrove.
"Not often you get a guy like Ichiro."

Hernandez walked a career-high six over six innings, allowing
one run and four hits and striking out four.

Game notes
Broussard did not play. ... Former Indians 1B Eduardo Perez, who likely will platoon with Broussard, went 0-for-3 with
two strikeouts. ... 2B Ronnie Belliard pinch-hit for Joe Inglett in
the seventh. He had missed six games with a strained left
hamstring. Inglett went 2-for-3 to put his average at .347
(17-for-49). ... Beltre was 2-for-4 and is batting .333 (13-for-39)
over a nine-game hitting streak.