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Published: 7/21/2008

Tribe's Lee AL's 1st 13-game victor as Mariners fall

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEATTLE - Cliff Lee left something behind in New York during a chaotic all-star trip: command of his fastball.

So what? He still has a nasty curve and a few other outstanding off-speed pitches.

Lee followed up his All-Star game start by allowing 11 hits in his second complete game of the season as Cleveland beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 yesterday.

Lee, a native of Arkansas who was just 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA while Cleveland won the AL Central last season, became the American League's first 13-game winner.

He also became the first Indians pitcher to yield at least 11 hits in a complete-game win since Charles Nagy, who gave up 13 against Bal-timore on June 17, 1992, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I was missing with my fastball quite a bit over the plate today," Lee said. "Whatever. I'll take that outing every time."

The 29-year-old left-hander (13-2) threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of his first 20 batters, and 41 of his first 50 pitches were strikes. Only one Mariner even saw ball three: Miguel Cairo with two outs in the seventh. Cairo then tripled home Jose Lopez to make it 6-2.

Four of the season-high 11 hits allowed by Lee (13-2) stayed in the infield, and seven came over the final three innings as he tired. He struck out four and walked none in his fifth career complete game.

Lee's 2.29 ERA is second in the AL to Oakland's Justin Duchscherer (1.87).

Kelly Shoppach ended an 0-for-13 funk with a three-run homer off injured starter Carlos Silva in the fourth. The catcher tied a career high with four RBIs and helped last-place Cleveland to its second consecutive win following 10 straight road defeats - its longest such skid since 1991.

"He makes me look like I am calling the right pitch," Shoppach said about Lee. "He's a lot of fun to catch."

Seattle flopped to 22 games below .500 at the bottom of the AL West and lost Silva to back tightness immediately after Shoppach's home run.

Silva allowed a double to Johnny Peralta in the fourth and an infield single to Shin-Soo Choo before Shoppach's drive just over the left-field scoreboard, his eighth home run.

A double by Grady Sizemore, an RBI single by Casey Blake and another RBI single by Shoppach against Roy Corcoran made it 6-1 in the fifth.

J.J. Putz pitched a perfect seventh hours after Seattle activated him from the 15-day disabled list. His final pitch was a darting, 96 mph splitter that Choo swung over - a hint that Putz might be fully recovered from the hyperextended elbow that had him on the DL since June 12.

"I felt great," said Putz, who admitted he was nervous.

NOTES: Lee has allowed two runs or fewer in 14 of his 19 starts. ... Seattle lost for the eighth time in 11 games. ... Peralta extended his hitting streak to 10 games.



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