NEW YORK C.C. Sabathia won the AL Cy Young Award on Tuesday, beating out several worthy contenders by a comfortable margin and becoming the first Cleveland pitcher in 35 years to earn the honor.
The Indians ace received 19 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 119 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Boston's Josh Beckett was second with eight first-place votes and 86 points, while John Lackey of the Los Angeles Angels got the other first-place vote and came in third. The Indians' Fausto Carmona was fourth.
Sabathia went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA and 209 strikeouts, pitching a major league-high 241 innings. Beckett (20-7) became the only big league pitcher to win 20 games since 2005, compiling a 3.27 ERA in 200 2-3 innings. Lackey led the AL in ERA at 3.01, going 19-9 and tossing 224 innings.
Voting took place before the postseason, when Sabathia struggled while Beckett pitched the Red Sox to a World Series championship with a string of dominant outings.
The only other Cleveland pitcher to win the award was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1972.
The 6-foot-7, 290-pound left-hander is the first black pitcher to win a Cy Young Award since Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1985 and the first in the AL since Oakland's Vida Blue in 1971.
While the top four candidates had similar statistics, Sabathia's stamina apparently set him apart. After being sidelined by injuries the previous two seasons, Sabathia stayed healthy all year and made 34 starts to Beckett's 30. That helped account for their wide gap in innings pitched.
The 27-year-old Sabathia also walked only 37 batters, giving him a remarkable strikeout-to-walk ratio that took pressure off his defense all season. Beckett had 194 strikeouts and 40 walks.
If voting had included their results in October, the outcome might have been different. Beckett beat Sabathia twice in the AL championship series and went 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in four postseason starts, striking out 35 and walking two. Sabathia was 1-2 with an 8.80 ERA in three playoff outings.
Sabathia is entering the final season of his contract with the Indians, who are preparing to offer the lefty a long-term deal this winter. Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro would like to have his ace locked up before spring training starts in February.
"My hope and expectation would be that it's not an issue when we get to spring training," Shapiro said recently. "I don't believe in black and whites. But it is something we'd like to address, one way or another, prior to getting to spring training."
Sabathia, picked by Cleveland in the first round of the 1998 draft, has made it clear he'd like to stay with the Indians for the right price.
"There has not been anyone any stronger about wanting to stay here, at any juncture," Shapiro said. "After our worst days and after our best days, he's been extremely consistent, extremely strong about wanting to remain a part of this team and part of this community."Beckett gets $100,000 for finishing second, and his 2010 base salary increases $100,000 to $12.1 million. Lackey earns $75,000 for coming in third, and his 2009 base salary goes up $500,000 to $10 million.
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.