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Published: Saturday, 7/4/2009

Choo s 7 RBIs lead Indians past Athletics

CLEVELAND Shin-Soo Choo gave his high school baseball coach a fitting tribute.

Choo learned before batting practice that his coach had died of cancer. Then he homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs in a 15-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night that snapped Cleveland s five-game losing streak.

I ll never forget this game, said Choo, who helped South Korea to the championship game of the World Baseball Classic in March.

If I was told before the game I would do this, I wouldn t believe it, he added. He was almost a like a second dad.

Choo had an RBI single, two-run double, three-run homer and capped his night with a solo shot, his 12th. It was Choo s second career multihomer game and the most RBIs by a Cleveland player since Grady Sizemore drove in seven Aug. 21 against Kansas City.

Choo arrived early at Progressive Field to work with hitting coach Derek Shelton. He had watched three hours of video on the off-day Thursday and wanted to make some adjustments at the plate even though he had raised his average to .292 by hitting .309 over his previous 48 games.

Why change? Choo responded to a question. Because I want to get better.

Cleveland, with the worst record in the AL at 32-49, could use it. The Indians won for only the third time in 16 games.

Asdrubal Cabrera had three RBIs in the Indians biggest output since a 22-4 win at Yankee Stadium on April 18. They scored only 13 runs and batted .195 during their five-game losing skid.

David Huff (4-3) gave up five doubles, but only three runs over six innings to improve to 4-1 in his last six starts.

Oakland, which had given up only 10 runs over its previous four games, opened a nine-game trip by losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Cleveland hasn t been swinging the bats that great lately, Oakland manager Bob Geren said. We ve been throwing the ball pretty well. It happens. It s one game.

Rookie Trevor Cahill (5-7) was wild and was hurt by some shaky fielding. The right-hander gave up five earned runs over 3 2-3 innings, walking four. Three more runs scored after two throwing errors by third baseman Bobby Crosby.

When you get behind in the count, they can sit dead red, Cahill said. They know what s coming and they usually hit it.

The Athletics scored in each of the first two innings to go up 2-0. Matt Holliday had an RBI groundout in the first, and Nomar Garciaparra a run-scoring double in the second. Huff stranded Garciaparra by getting three straight strikeouts.

Huff continues to come around as a big-league starter, Indians manager Eric Wedge said. A couple of innings could have got away from him, but he adjusted and worked through it.

Travis Hafner hit his ninth homer to get Cleveland to 2-1 in the bottom half.

Two bad throws by Crosby in the third helped the Indians go ahead, 4-2.

Ben Francisco reached when Crosby fielded his slow roller and threw wildly. Francisco scored on a two-out single by Choo to tie it at 2. After Hafner walked to load the bases, Jhonny Peralta topped a bouncer to Crosby, whose throw was offline to first baseman Garciaparra as two runs scored.

Jack Cust s RBI single got Oakland to 4-3 in the fourth.

Choo s two-run double keyed a four-run bottom half. Cabrera and Peralta had RBI singles in the rally.

Cabrera s two-run double off Santiago Casilla in the fifth put Cleveland ahead 10-3. Choo s three-run homer to right-center off former Indians left-hander Craig Breslow, made it 13-3.

Sizemore had an RBI double in the Indians sixth. He went 2 for 2 with three walks, breaking an 0-for-11 skid.

NOTES: Indians RHP Matt Herges said after the game he had been designated for assignment. His roster spot is expected to be taken by RHP Winston Abreu on Saturday. Abreu was acquired from Tampa Bay in a deal for RHP John Meloan on Thursday. ... Oakland SS Orlando Cabrera went 0 for 5, breaking a 14-game hitting streak. ... A s 2B Mark Ellis was a defensive replacement in the sixth. He got to Cleveland during the game after going to Oakland to be with wife Sarah. She gave birth to a girl, the couple s second child, on Thursday. ... Indians LHP Aaron Laffey gave up seven runs over four innings in an injury rehab start at Triple-A Columbus. He s been out since May 23 with a strained oblique. ... Indians RHP Rafael Betancourt followed with one scoreless inning. He has been out since June 1 with a strained groin.



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