Indians' Bieber nearly makes Opening Day history with 14-K gem

Jason Miller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Shane Bieber had the feeling on the mound Friday.

The Cleveland Indians right-hander nearly matched the all-time Opening Day strikeout record in a dominant performance against the Kansas City Royals, as he struck out 14 batters over six innings of work in his team's season-opening game.

Bieber's 14 punchouts are the most by any pitcher on Opening Day in 24 years. He finished one strikeout shy of the all-time Opening Day record, set by Camilo Pascual of the Washington Senators in 1960. It's just the fifth time since 1900 that a pitcher struck out at least 14 batters in a season opener.

Bieber also set a new Indians Opening Day strikeout record, eclipsing Gary Bell's franchise mark of 12 - in 10 1/3 innings - from 1970.

The 25-year-old was lifted for Adam Cimber after allowing just four hits and one walk over six shutout innings while throwing 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes. He struck out every Royals starter except Whit Merrifield at least once.

Bieber is coming off a breakout 2019 season during which he won the All-Star Game MVP and finish fourth in American League Cy Young voting.

Cleveland beat Kansas City 2-0.

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Indians' Bieber nearly makes Opening Day history with 14-K gem
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