Rookie Huff allows four runs as Indians edge Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Making his first career start as a catcher was just the thing to keep Chris Gimenez from fretting about his lost passport.

After his RBI grounder helped Cleveland beat Toronto, Gimenez just hoped he'd be able to join the victory party as the Indians' took off for the West Coast.

Rookie David Huff won for the first time in three starts, Shin-Soo Choo tripled home two runs and the Indians beat the Blue Jays 5-4 on Thursday afternoon.

Pleased with their road series win, the Indians were looking forward to some fun as they packed for the five-hour flight to Seattle.

"Everybody is like 'Yeah, we're going to play poker' and all that stuff," Gimenez said. "I was like 'You guys have fun, I might be hanging out here for a while.' "

The left-handed Huff (5-4) allowed four runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.

"He does a good job of learning and getting better," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's being more efficient, working ahead and making pitches when he's behind. I was really pleased with the way he threw today. He should feel good about that."

Gimenez, who had started at first, right and left since joining the team in June, learned he would be behind the plate about two hours before game time. The news was a welcome distraction for the rookie, who had been frantically searching his hotel room before coming to the ballpark.

"I was in a panic over my passport," Gimenez said. "I have no idea what happened to it. If I had to sit there today and think about it, I would have driven myself absolutely insane."

One thing he didn't have to worry about was working with Huff, his teammate at three minor league levels.

"I couldn't really have had it any better way to break in as a catcher," Gimenez said. "I've been David's personal catcher, pretty much, for his entire minor leagues. We kind of know each other like the back of our hands."

Huff, who won just once in his previous four outings, enjoyed working with Gimenez.

"It helped with the pitch-calling and everything, it just made things a little smoother," Huff said. "I didn't have to shake as much. It was good seeing him back there."

Huff left after Kevin Millar cut Cleveland's lead to one with a two-out homer in the eighth. Righty Joe Smith came on and got Vernon Wells to ground out.

Kerry Wood pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 17 chances and the Indians won a series for the first time since taking two of three from Oakland July 3-5.

Wood began the inning by hitting Alex Rios in the helmet with a curveball. Rios stole second and third but pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay struck out looking to end it.

Toronto allowed three unearned runs and failed to get back to .500 for the first time since July 10 and has lost six of its past seven series.

Toronto lost the series opener Tuesday when Overbay's ninth-inning throwing error led to a two-run double.

"We pretty much gave away [two games] as far as we played on defense," manager Cito Gaston said.

Ben Francisco took a bases-loaded walk in the fourth but Toronto tied it at 1 in the bottom half with doubles from Adam Lind and Millar.

The Indians chased Toronto rookie left-hander Marc Rzepczynski with a three-run fifth. Gimenez singled and, one out later, went to third when third baseman Jose Bautista couldn't come up with Asdrubal Cabrera's grounder. Choo tripled home both runners and Victor Martinez capped it with an RBI grounder off reliever Shawn Camp.

Toronto answered in the bottom half, making it 4-3 on a two-run homer by Aaron Hill, who leads Toronto with 22 and went deep the day before.

Cleveland made it 5-3 with another unearned run in the sixth. With men at first and second, Camp sent a pickoff throw into center field, advancing both runners one base before Gimenez followed with an RBI grounder.

Rzepczynski (1-2) worked 4 1/3 innings, the shortest of his four major league starts, allowing four runs, two earned, on three hits. He walked four and struck out six.

Five of Toronto's eight hits were doubles, raising their major league-leading total to 217.

Game notes
The Blue Jays designated Of David Dellucci for assignment following the game and recalled utilityman Joe Inglett from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder) injured his right knee doing conditioning drills earlier this month and underwent surgery July 9 to repair damaged cartilage. He will need six weeks of recovery time, likely ending his hopes of returning this season. ... Lind extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. ... Two Cleveland batters, Choo and Ryan Garko, were hit by pitches. The Indians lead the major leagues with 55 hit batters.