Bieber sets K record, fans 13 as Indians beat Reds 6-3

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Cleveland Indians' Shane Bieber throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Sunday, April 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

CINCINNATI – If Shane Bieber felt a bit off at the start, it sure didn't show.

Bieber kept up his record strikeout run, fanning 13 and pitching the Cleveland Indians past the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Sunday.

Bieber (2-1) became the first pitcher in big league history to begin the season with four straight starts with at least 10 strikeouts.

The AL Cy Young Award winner has 48 strikeouts this year, matching Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan for the most through the first four starts of a season. Bieber has fanned at least eight in a 16 straight starts, one short of Randy Johnson’s major league mark.

“I felt a little slow, a little sluggish at the beginning of the game but was able to get through it and kind of get on a roll there at the end,” Bieber said.

Bieber struck out the side in the seventh. He wrapped up his outing by fanning three more in the eighth around a solo home run by former teammate Tyler Naquin.

After being routed on Friday night and then losing in the 10th inning Saturday when an error with two outs in the ninth allowed the Reds to extend the game, Cleveland manager Terry Francona was happy to be able to give the ball to Bieber on Sunday.

“That’s why you call guys aces. And he certainly has lived up to that," Francona said. "He’s really accountable for what he needs to do. It’s nice, you got a tough night like you had last night, and you see him running out to the bullpen. That makes you feel a little better.”