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Choo lifts Indians for second straight night to help Huff pick up 2nd win

CLEVELAND -- Shin-Soo Choo got the job done again -- this time without any avian assistance.

A day after his winning hit glanced off a gull in the outfield, Choo drove in three runs for the Indians to help rookie David Huff get his second big league win in Cleveland's 7-3 win Friday night over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I didn't see any birds out there," Choo said with a laugh. "I guess I didn't need them tonight."

Huff (2-2), making his sixth major league start, gave up a leadoff homer to Albert Pujols in the fourth and left with one out in the eighth after allowing three runs.

"He pitched well," St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa said. "He moved the ball around, used three different pitches and kept us off-balance. He got ahead of us most of the time and pitched a good game."

Joel Pineiro (5-7) allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He has lost seven of his last eight starts, including four straight. Both of the walks he allowed came with two outs and both runners ended up scoring.

"I want to make them earn their way on base," he said. "You don't want to give them that free pass, especially with two outs, because that's when stuff happens. That's what happened today. Two-out walks come back to haunt you."

The flocks of gulls that have been swarming Progressive Field the last two homestands were largely absent Friday night. A few flew around the ballpark's upper deck, but none landed on the field. The Indians shot off fireworks every half inning -- saving some for a scheduled postgame show.

Choo's winning single in the 10th inning against Kansas City Thursday night bounced into a group of gulls and struck one, preventing Royals center fielder Coco Crisp from attempting a throw to the plate.

On Friday night, Choo hit an RBI single in the first and added a two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Ben Francisco had a run-scoring double in the fourth for the Indians, putting Cleveland ahead for good.

Huff got his first career win in his last start on Sunday against the White Sox, allowing three runs in five innings.

Pujols hit his 20th homer of the season into the left field bleachers on the first pitch of the fourth.

"Every time I faced him I was able to attack him," Huff said. "The home run he hit was supposed to be a fastball in, but it was over the plate."

Choo's two-run single came off left-hander Dennys Reyes. Travis Hafner also drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh.

Run-scoring singles by Pujols and Ryan Ludwick in the eighth off Joe Smith cut the lead to 5-3, but Victor Martinez doubled home two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Game notes

The Indians are 11-4 against the Cardinals. ... The Cardinals recalled RHP P.J. Walters from Triple-A Memphis before the game and optioned INF Brian Barden to the same club. ... Cleveland RHP Anthony Reyes had elbow surgery Friday and will be sidelined from 12-18 months. ... Indians RHP Jake Westbrook, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, pitched four scoreless innings in a rehab start for Double-A Akron against Portland on Friday. He is exepcted to rejoin the Indians late this month.