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09/09/2007 11:52 PM ET
Cowart shines in Cal League debut
Combines with Wilding on Giants' second straight shutout
Adam Cowart was third in the South Atlantic League with a 2.39 ERA during the regular season. (Chris Talley)

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Adam Cowart had no trouble getting into the swing of things in his California League debut.

Cowart allowed three hits over eight innings Sunday as the San Jose Giants blanked the Visalia Oaks for the second straight game, 5-0, to take command of the North Division Finals.

A 24-year-old right-hander, Cowart went 14-7 with a 2.39 ERA in 28 starts for Class Augusta. He joined the Giants when the GreenJackets were eliminated from the South Atlantic League playoffs.

"I just wanted to give the team a chance to win," Cowart said. "I didn't get a chance to throw a whole lot between my last start and tonight."

The rust wasn't noticeable. He worked out of a jam in the second by getting Bryan Byrne to bounce into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners, then retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced.

"I just kept the fastball down and let the infield work behind me," Cowart explained. "I'd heard a lot of good things about this team. It's a great experience for me."

The Kansas State University product is trying to win a championship for the second year in a row. In 2006, he went 10-1 with a 1.08 ERA for the Northwest League champion Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Taylor Wilding walked one in a hitless ninth to finish it off for the Giants, who are one win from advancing to the California League Championship Series. San Jose took the opener of the best-of-5 series, 1-0, behind Paul Oseguera and three relievers.

Travis Ishikawa got San Jose on the board in this one with a two-run homer in the second. Travis Denker added a two-run shot, his second of the series, in the fifth to make it 4-0. Denker also walked and scored on Mark Minicozzi's single in the eighth.

Visalia starter Adam Howard (0-1) gave up four runs on three hits and four walks while striking out eight in five innings.

Steve Conley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.