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Lee earns AL-leading 16th win, shuts down Blue Jays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Being the American League leader in wins and ERA isn't likely to go to Cliff Lee's head.

Lee worked eight shutout innings for his AL-leading 16th win and the Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0 on Sunday.

"It's just easier when you're having success," Lee said of his superb season. "Things go easier, you have more fun. Things flow better when you're having success. I'm going to continue to just ride it out."

Even as he carves up the competition, Lee makes sure not to get caught up thinking about a 20-win season or winning the AL Cy Young Award.

"You hear it all the time, you've got to keep your mind in the moment," Lee said. "It's easier said than done, but it's something you've got to be conscious of. If you feel yourself thinking about the past, or trying to think about the eighth inning in the fourth inning, you're in trouble already."

Lee (16-2) lowered his ERA to 2.45, moving him ahead of Oakland's Justin Duchscherer (2.51) for the major league lead. He won his fifth straight decision and has not lost since a 4-3 defeat at Minnesota on July 6. He gave up eight hits -- seven of them singles -- with no walks. He struck out one.

"He was in control throughout," manager Eric Wedge said. "Did a good job moving his fastball around, made some adjustments as the game wore on. Overall, another real good day for Cliff."

The left-hander is responsible for 16 of his teams 52 wins (31 percent), the highest percentage of any major league pitcher.

"He always makes me look like I know what I'm doing," catcher Kelly Shoppach said. "I can call any pitch and he can execute it."

Lee threw 104 pitches, including 83 for strikes, and had only one three-ball count.

"He's a fun pitcher to play behind," outfielder Grady Sizemore said. "He attacks the hitters, he goes out there and works the plate. He's been doing it all year. It's fun to watch. I hope he can continue this stretch and finish strong."

The victory was Lee's first in seven starts against Toronto, the only AL opponent he had never beaten.

Lee pitched nine shutout innings against Toronto on May 12, but the Blue Jays won 3-0 in the 10th against reliever Rafael Betancourt.

Rafael Perez wrapped this one up in the ninth to help Cleveland win for the 15th time in 25 games.

Shin-soo Choo went 3-for-4 with three doubles for the Indians, who finished 6-1 in the season series against Toronto, outscoring the Blue Jays 34-8.

Toronto's Vernon Wells returned after missing 26 games with a strained hamstring and started as the designated hitter, but finished 0-for-4.

"Good to be back, bad game to be back," Wells said. "Felt good some at-bats, a little tardy on other ones."

Scott Rolen (left shoulder) was scratched from the starting lineup and placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game. Rolen revealed July 30 that his surgically repaired shoulder was causing him pain, and has missed five of 11 games since.

Outfielder Kevin Mench, originally optioned to Triple-A when Wells was activated, will take Rolen's place on the roster.

The Indians jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Scott Richmond (0-2) with a two-run first. Sizemore singled and came around to score when Adam Lind mishandled David Dellucci's double to left. One out later, Dellucci scored on Jhonny Peralta's RBI single.

Toronto's bullpen stirred and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg visited the mound after Choo doubled Peralta to third, but Richmond got Ryan Garko and Franklin Gutierrez on grounders.

Cleveland made it 3-0 in the third when Choo hit a two-out double and scored on Garko's single.

Making his third major league start, Richmond gave up three runs and nine hits in five innings. He walked none, hit two batters and struck out five.

The Indians added one more in the eighth against reliever John Parrish. Sizemore's two-out single scored Garko from second, but Alex Rios threw out Gutierrez at home plate as he tried to score from first. The assist was Rios' major league-leading 13th of the season.

Notes

  • Shoppach broke his bat over his thigh after striking out to strand runners at first and third in the fourth. Shoppach fanned again in the ninth and has struck out eight times in 12 at-bats.
  • Toronto has lost the season series to Cleveland five years in a row.
  • Three of Toronto's eight shutout losses this year have come against the Indians.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Cliff Lee continues to make a strong case for the AL Cy Young award, lowering his ERA to 2.45.  (AP)
Cliff Lee continues to make a strong case for the AL Cy Young award, lowering his ERA to 2.45. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

C. Lee
IP 8.0
H 8
ER 0
BB 0
K 1
Cleveland

S. Choo
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5121013 .269
David Dellucci, DH2111001 .253
   a- Ben Francisco, PH-DH2000011 .274
Kelly Shoppach, C5000043 .270
Jhonny Peralta, SS5011010 .276
Shin-Soo Choo, LF4130010 .264
Ryan Garko, 1B4121013 .244
Franklin Gutierrez, RF3000104 .218
Andy Marte, 3B4020012 .185
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B3020002 .206
Totals374134110  
a-grounded into a double play for Dellucci in the 6th
Batting
2B - David Dellucci (17, Richmond), Shin-Soo Choo 3 (17, Richmond, Richmond, Richmond)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (66), David Dellucci (41), Jhonny Peralta (65), Ryan Garko (53)
2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore (32), Ryan Garko (20)
SB - Asdrubal Cabrera (2, 3rd base off Richmond/Barajas)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Peralta-A. Cabrera-Garko
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (W,16-2) 8800010 2.45
Rafael Perez 1000030 2.88
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 104-83, Rafael Perez 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 11-11
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 31, Rafael Perez 3
Toronto Blue Jays
Marco Scutaro, 3B4020001 .256
David Eckstein, 2B4000003 .266
Alex Rios, CF4020001 .281
Vernon Wells, DH4000003 .283
Adam Lind, LF4000010 .296
Rod Barajas, C4000020 .260
Lyle Overbay, 1B4020010 .271
Brad Wilkerson, RF3000002 .224
John McDonald, SS3020000 .207
Totals3408004  
Batting
2B - Alex Rios (32, Lee)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Rios 1
DP - Eckstein-McDonald-Overbay, Scutaro-Eckstein-Overbay
E - Rod Barajas (3, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Scott Richmond (L,0-2) 5933050 5.06
John Parrish 3411130 4.05
Shawn Camp 1000020 3.63
HBP - A. Cabrera (by Scott Richmond), Dellucci (by Scott Richmond)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Richmond 93-61, John Parrish 41-25, Shawn Camp 14-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Richmond 7-2, John Parrish 2-2, Shawn Camp 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Richmond 25, John Parrish 12, Shawn Camp 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36447
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Kevin Causey, Third Base - Ron Kulpa