Choo drove in five runs with a bases-loaded double and a two-run home run to give the Cleveland Indians a 6-3 victory over the Mariners.
Choo, traded to the Indians by Seattle in 2006, hit a 3-1 fastball from Doug Fister(notes) (4-11) against the right-center-field wall in the Indians’ four-run sixth to score all three runners without a throw.
He added his two-run shot in the ninth to match his season-high for RBIs. Choo had five RBIs against the Chicago White Sox on April 18.
Choo leads Cleveland in home runs (16) and RBIs (68).
“He’s a stud,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He hits good pitching. He hits right, left, he has good at-bats, he plays hard every day. I basically have to pull him off the field to give him a day off.
“He’s a legit complete player. Those words five-tool player are used a lot but he’s a legit five-tool guy. He can do it all on the field.”
Indians pitchers retired 18 of the last 19 hitters.
Fister yielded a one-out single to Cabrera in the first inning then retired the next 14 batters.
Then in the sixth he seemingly couldn’t get anyone out.
Fister threw 32 pitches in the inning, retiring just one batter. He has lost 10 of his last 11 decisions.
“It was like watching two different ball games,” Mariners manager Daren Brown said. “After watching him for five innings, I didn’t see that coming. He was pretty good for the first five innings.”
Fister said it was all about location.
“Before the sixth inning, I made pitches,” Fister said. “In the sixth, they weren’t in the quality locations they needed to be.”
Fister handled the hitters with a balance of spotting his fastball early then coming in with off-speed pitches.
“Then in that inning we got better at working the count,” Acta said. “He fell behind guys and gave us good pitches to hit.”
The Mariners collected all their runs in the third. Ichiro Suzuki(notes) stroked a one-out double into the right-center gap. He moved to third on Chone Figgins’(notes) single to left. Franklin Gutierrez(notes) had a sacrifice fly for his team-leading 52nd RBI.
Branyan then worked a count full against Tomlin before unloading with a third-deck home run to right for a 3-0 lead.
That ended a season-high seven-game homer-less streak.
“It watched it for a long time. Watched him, too,” said Tomlin, who used to play with Branyan. “I’ve seen him hit some balls pretty far. That tops them all right there.”
Tomlin appreciated the manager’s faith in him to allow him to get through his rough third. He rewarded that faith by retiring 10 of his last 11 batters he faced.
“Every start is a learning experience right now,” Tomlin said. “I fell behind hitters in the third. I just attacked the hitters after that. That let me go deeper in the game and I gave the team the chance to win.”
Notes: Brown admits his bias but said RHP Felix Hernandez’s(notes) “name has to be mentioned any time you talk about” the Cy Young Award. Despite a 10-10 record, Hernandez is second in ERA (2.38), tied for first in strikeouts (200) and fifth in opponent average (.222). Brown likes his innings pitched numbers (first at 211.1) and quality starts (26 of 29). “You look at both of those and they tell me that every fifth day he’s going out there that he’s not giving you a chance to win. That really sticks out.” … 1B Matt LaPorta(notes) has had just one plate appearance since injuring his right hip Sunday. “The training staff doesn’t think he’s ready to be on the field just yet,” Acta said. He said it’s possible he could play Friday.