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Indians ace Lee strikes out career-high 11 to earn win No. 11

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Cliff Lee played stopper for the Cleveland Indians again, putting in another All-Star-caliber performance.

Lee struck out a career-high 11 over eight innings, and the Indians avoided a three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants with a 4-1 win Thursday.

"It's not like I'm surprising myself because I've always had confidence in my ability," said Lee, who endured his first losing season a year ago when he went 5-8 and was sent back to the minors to regain his command.

Now, Lee (11-1) is tied with Arizona's Brandon Webb and Joe Saunders of the Los Angeles Angels for the major league lead in wins. Eight of them have come after Cleveland losses, one halting a seven-game streak. He has ended three-game slides four times.

"Cliff has been incredibly consistent," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's had an incredible year."

Wedge believes Lee, who went a combined 46-24 from 2004 through 2006, merits consideration for starting the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15.

Lee said being selected for the first time hasn't entered his mind.

"I'll think about it if they tell me I make it," Lee said. "I just focus on my next opponent and what I need to do to give my team the best chance at winning. I think I've done that so far and my teammates are making plays being me and scoring runs, too."

Jamey Carroll and Jhonny Peralta drove in two runs apiece to support Lee.

The left-hander allowed one run and four hits as the Indians finally beat the Giants in Cleveland. Cleveland came in 0-4 at home in the series, including two losses in a four-game sweep in the 1954 World Series when the Giants still called New York home.

Lee has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his 15 starts this season. He improved to 11-2 in his career in interleague play.

"He pitched a great ballgame," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You can see why his record is what it is. When you get that many strikeouts, you're at the top of your game and he was tonight. He has great stuff. He was throwing in the 90s, hitting his spots, and had movement on his fastball."

Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel went 0-for-3 and got a loud ovation each time he came to bat. He got a standing ovation after a flyball out in the eighth as Indians fans, who enjoyed his spectacular play in Cleveland for 11 years from 1994 until he signed with San Francisco in 2005, recognized that may have been the 41-year-old's final time at bat at Progressive Field.

After the game, Vizquel stood at the end of the dugout, waving to fans.

Joe Borowski worked the ninth for his sixth save in nine tries. Cleveland moved into a fourth-place tie with idle Kansas City in the AL Central, seven games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox. Following a three-game weekend series against Cincinnati, the Indians will play eight straight on the road against division rivals.

"We need to win every game," Lee said. "We expect to win every time we come to the ballpark. Hopefully, we can start on a long winning streak."

Kelly Shoppach singled to start a three-run third inning against Matt Cain (4-6). Shoppach scored on Carroll's one-out triple off the left-field wall. After Ben Francisco walked, Peralta drove a two-run double off the out-of-town scoreboard in left-center for a 3-0 lead.

"You always want the pitches back you gave up extra-base hits on," Cain said. "The pitch to Carroll was supposed to be a fastball away, but it was 18 inches off."

Aaron Rowand doubled with one out and scored on Rich Aurilia's bloop single with two outs in the fourth to get the Giants within 3-1.

Rowand nearly made a spectacular catch to end the Indians' fourth, lunging to get a glove on Shoppach's drive to left-center. But the ball popped out of Rowand's glove as he tumbled to the ground and Shoppach ended up on second with a double.

After Grady Sizemore was intentionally walked, Carroll singled to center to make it 4-1.

Cain gave up four runs and eight hits over five innings. The right-hander has alternated two wins and three losses in five June starts.

Notes

  • The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 42 minutes by rain.
  • Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper had a busy three days in Cleveland, where he had been the Indians' second baseman in 1974-81. Kuiper, in his 24th year behind the microphone, was in constant demand for interviews.
  • Aurilia has 1,142 hits for San Francisco uniform, tying Jim Davenport for seventh on the Giants' list since they moved from New York in 1958.
  • Indians OF David Dellucci is in a 1-for-20 slump and has struck out 14 times in his last 25 at-bats.
  • RHP Sergio Romo became the ninth Giants player to make his MLB debut this season, tying St. Louis for the most in the majors in 2008.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Using a career-best 11 strikeouts, Cliff Lee becomes one of three pitchers with 11 wins in the majors. (AP)
Using a career-best 11 strikeouts, Cliff Lee becomes one of three pitchers with 11 wins in the majors. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

J. Carroll
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Cleveland

C. Lee
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 1
K 11
 
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, RF4000000 .302
Jose Castillo, 3B4010010 .268
Aaron Rowand, CF4110011 .300
Bengie Molina, C4010013 .313
Rich Aurilia, DH4011022 .288
Brian Horwitz, LF3000032 .250
Travis Denker, 2B2000121 .276
John Bowker, 1B3000011 .268
Omar Vizquel, SS3000001 .165
Totals31141111  
Batting
2B - Aaron Rowand (21, Lee)
RBI - Rich Aurilia (24)
2-OUT RBI - Rich Aurilia (9)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Cain-Vizquel-Bowker, Castillo-Denker-Bowker
San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain (L,4-6) 5844240 4.44
Alex Hinshaw 1000120 3.24
Billy Sadler 1000110 3.98
Sergio Romo 1000020 0.00
IBB - Sizemore by Matt Cain
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Cain 101-67, Alex Hinshaw 18-10, Billy Sadler 9-5, Sergio Romo 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Cain 4-6, Billy Sadler 1-0
Batters Faced - Matt Cain 24, Alex Hinshaw 4, Billy Sadler 3, Sergio Romo 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3010112 .262
Jamey Carroll, 2B3122101 .293
Ben Francisco, LF3100124 .291
Jhonny Peralta, SS4012022 .244
Shin-Soo Choo, RF4010001 .271
Casey Blake, 3B4010011 .268
David Dellucci, DH4000032 .219
Ryan Garko, 1B2000101 .249
Kelly Shoppach, C3220001 .246
Totals3048449  
Batting
2B - Grady Sizemore (16, Cain), Jhonny Peralta (16, Cain), Kelly Shoppach (9, Cain)
3B - Jamey Carroll (3, Cain)
RBI - Jamey Carroll 2 (14), Jhonny Peralta 2 (32)
2-OUT RBI - Jamey Carroll (6)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Carroll-Peralta-Garko
E - Casey Blake (11, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (W,11-1) 84111110 2.34
Joe Borowski (S,6) 1000000 7.20
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 111-79, Joe Borowski 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 7-5, Joe Borowski 1-3
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 28, Joe Borowski 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25257
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Ron Kulpa