MINNEAPOLIS — Cleveland’s Shane Bieber tied the major league record for strikeouts in a pitcher’s first two starts of the season, punching out 13 Minnesota Twins over eight innings in the Indians’ 2-0 victory on Thursday night.
Bieber (2-0) fanned 14 over six scoreless innings on Friday against Kansas City. His 27 strikeouts in the two games matched the record set by Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1954 during the first two starts of his short career.
Facing a Twins team that came in with the second-best run differential in baseball, Bieber allowed three singles in his eight innings.
Francisco Lindor supplied all the offense Cleveland needed with a two-run homer in the third inning off Jose Berríos (0-1). After Jose Ramirez singled with two outs, Berrios left an 0-2 pitch up over the plate, and Lindor drove it over the fence in right for his second homer of the season.
Minnesota’s biggest threat against Bieber came in the sixth when Byron Buxton and Max Kepler hit one-out singles. But Bieber struck out Josh Donaldson for the third time in the game and Jorge Polanco flied out to the warning track.
The 25-year-old Bieber was a first-time All-Star last year, his second season, when he finished 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings.
Spooner, the man whose record Bieber tied, never matched the promise of his 1954 debut. He pitched for one more season but was plagued by arm troubles and retired at the end of the year with a career record of 10-6.
Indians: RF Domingo Santana was hit on the hand by a pitch in the second inning and was briefly looked at by a trainer but remained in the game. Santana was replaced by pinch-runner Greg Allen in the sixth.
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi, currently on the injured list with a right intercostal strain, threw a bullpen Thursday. Odorizzi said he is pain-free and has been for “a couple days.” He’ll face live batters on Monday.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (0-0, 2.57 ERA) takes the mound Friday in the second game of the four-game series. He struck out six and gave up two runs in a no-decision in his first start of the season against Kansas City.
Twins: RHP Randy Dobnak (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his seventh career start after debuting last season. Dobnak was tagged with a loss in his season debut after allowing one run in four innings against the White Sox.