CLEVELAND — Cliff Lee became Cleveland's first 20-game winner in 34 years, pitching a five-hitter for his second career shutout to lead the Indians to a 5-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
Lee (20-2) is the first Indians pitcher to reach 20 wins since Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry went 21-13 in 1974. The left-hander's milestone win — his ninth straight victory — came exactly one year to the day that he was recalled from the minor leagues.
With a chance to join Perry as well as Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Bob Lemon in Cleveland's record book as 20-game winners, Lee shut down the hard-hitting, Central-leading White Sox with ease. He gave up two singles to open the first and then retired 21 in row.
After he got Carlos Quentin to ground into a game-ending double play, Lee punched his fist into his glove and hugged catcher Kelly Shoppach as fireworks boomed above Progressive Field.
Lee's 20 wins put a resounding stamp on his turnaround season.
Ineffective for the first fourth months of 2007, Lee had been sent back to the minors last July, a startling downfall for a pitcher who had won 46 games over the previous three years. In his final start before the demotion, Lee was booed off the field and sarcastically tipped his cap at Indians fans who were sick of seeing him.