for this game

Lee outduels Bannister as Indians sweep doubleheader

Apr 25, 2008 - 6:33 AM By Alan Eskew PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- If Cliff Lee keeps pitching like this, the Cleveland Indians will have back-to-back Cy Young Award winners.

Lee held the Kansas City Royals to three hits in his first career shutout as the Indians won, 2-0, to not only sweep Thursday's doubleheader but also the three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia won the Cy Young Award last year, and Lee (4-0) is the early front-runner this season.

"That would be real nice," Sabathia said about the possibility of passing the trophy to his teammate. "He's dealing. Even better, if he pitches that way, we're probably going to be in the playoffs."

Lee, who won only five games last year, said it is "way too early" for any Cy Young talk.

"We've still got a long ways to go," he said. "I'm just going to try to continue to pitch the way I have been and ride it out until the wave stops."

Lee's wave so far has been one of unbelievable numbers. He lowered his ERA to a miniscule 0.28 and has not allowed a run in his past 21 innings

Lee, who matched a career high with nine strikeouts, has yielded just one earned run in 31 2/3 innings.

"I'm not exaggerating - this guy is the best pitcher in the game right now," Kansas City starter Brian Bannister said. "He's putting up Nintendo numbers. I was just matching him stride for stride and having fun."

Lee threw 86 of his 120 pitches for strikes.

"It's a win," Lee said. "It's not like I wanted a shutout forever. It's nice. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that it happened. It's all about the team winning, and that's the main thing to me. Especially getting out of here with a sweep after we got off to a slow start.

"I honestly thought I was probably done after eight (innings) because I noticed my pitch count was around 100-something. I was glad to go back out there. I felt I was getting better as the game went on as far as locating. I wanted to go back out there. I'm glad I did."

Bannister (3-2) matched Lee for the first six innings, but David Dellucci broke up the scoreless duel by leading off the seventh with a home run to right field on the first pitch.

Bannister's undoing, however, started an inning earlier, when Kelly Shoppach drilled a line drive off his left shin, leaving a big knot.

"They beat me because they hit me, literally," Bannister said. "I came back out (in the seventh) and I couldn't plant. My shin had a heartbeat of its own. I don't want to make excuses, but I just couldn't finish my pitches. My pitches usually have some late life to them, but I just wasn't about to finish them. It's going to be throbbing tonight."

After Dellucci's homer, Travis Hafner doubled and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out double, which finished Bannister's night. He yielded two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Jose Guillen's second-inning single and fifth-inning double were the only hits allowed by Lee through the first eight innings.

After Guillen opened the fifth with a double to become the only Royal to reach second base, Lee struck out Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Miguel Olivo to end the frame.

"I had to step up right there," Lee said. "It's a 0-0 game. I can't allow that guy to score. I was lucky they swung through a few high fastballs that they could have taken for balls. Looking back, that was one of the key parts of me having success tonight - getting out of that with no runs."

In one stretch, Lee threw 19 consecutive strikes.

"I can't say enough about the job he did for his ballclub tonight," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's been very consistent. He's done a great job of just going out there and staying focused, taking it from pitch to pitch. He's pitching with a great deal of confidence. He's done a great job of commanding his fastball, and his secondary stuff has worked immediately off of that."

The only other hit off Lee was David DeJesus' two-out single in the ninth on an 0-2 pitch.

"(Lee) was attacking us with fastballs, moving in and out," Guillen said. "He was able to throw his pitches for strikes where we couldn't hit it - fastballs, sliders and changeups."

"Lee just lived in the zone," added Butler, who went 0-for-3. "He pounded the strike zone with strikes and we couldn't get too good of swings on it."

Bannister, who had allowed just two earned runs in 21 innings in his first three starts before losing at Oakland on Friday, held the Indians to one hit over the first six innings.

The Royals have dropped seven straight and fallen into last place in the American League Central Division. They opened the season by winning six of eight and were in first place on April 14.

"We're disappointed, frustrated," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "We're better than a seven-game losing streak."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 5 0
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - CLIFF LEE AND KELLY SHOPPACH
    KAN - BRIAN BANNISTER, LEO NUNEZ (7TH), JOAKIM SORIA
    (9TH) AND JOHN BUCK

    HOME RUNS: CLE - DAVID DELLUCCI (3) OFF BRIAN BANNISTER

    Apr 25 12:41 AM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE (2ND GAME)
    DOUBLE BY ASDRUBAL CABRERA SCORED TRAVIS HAFNER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A CABRERA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: F GUTIERREZ (.227, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians 2, Royals 0  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 24 11:59 PM


  • AL
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE (2ND GAME)
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID DELLUCCI (3) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF BRIAN BANNISTER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1, KANSAS CITY 0
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: T HAFNER (.220, 1-FOR-2)

    Indians 1, Royals 0  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 24 11:52 PM
  • 10
    roots
    bigsexy Added 5 roots

    Indians 0, Royals 0  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 24 11:13 PM
  • 5
    roots
    LeRenard Added 5 roots

    Indians vs. RoyalsApr 24 10:06 PM