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Published: Monday, 5/17/2010

Westbrook goes distance as Indians top Orioles


BALTIMORE - Now that Jake Westbrook has put concern about his troublesome elbow behind him, he can start thinking about things that cross the minds of other major league pitchers.

Things such as getting a shutout, throwing a complete game, and earning wins for his team.

Westbrook worked around nine hits for his 13th career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 yesterday for their second straight series win.

Westbrook (2-2) didn't pitch at all last season while recovering from reconstructive right elbow surgery. He was 0-2 in his first six starts this year before defeating the Royals on Tuesday.

Against Baltimore, Westbrook missed his fourth career shutout when Luke Scott hit a two-out homer in the ninth.

"It's disappointing because it's the last hitter almost - would have been if I got him out," Westbrook said. "Once it's happened, it happened. Go get the next guy. I still had a chance to throw a complete game."

And, although he didn't get his first shutout since 2006, the right-hander went the distance for the first time since April 8, 2008, against the Los Angeles Angels.

"I feel great right now, and that's encouraging for me," Westbrook said. "Even a year or so before my surgery I still was kind of fighting stuff, so it was like I feel better now than then. For me right now it's a matter of staying in my routine, getting ready for each ball game."

Westbrook struck out eight, one short of his career high, and walked none.

"Kind of crushing at the end that he couldn't get the compete-game shutout," Indians manager Manny Acta. "It was a very good outing by him to give him a big-time boost in his confidence after being out so long."

Westbrook was aided by two double plays and a fine first-inning catch by center fielder Grady Sizemore. In addition, Baltimore's Ty Wigginton was thrown out by Shin-Soo Choo trying to stretch a single into a double.

"Westbrook had tremendous movement on his ball today. He mixed in enough sliders so if you went to get on the sinker, the ball is diving away," Wigginton said.

Matt LaPorta and Russell Branyan homered for the Indians, who took two of three.

"We definitely need to win some series, and this is a step in the right direction," Acta said.

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