By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) - Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer won his second consecutive Cy Young Award as the National League's top pitcher on Wednesday while Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians took home American League honors.
Scherzer earned 27 of the 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America to finish ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, 201-126.
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For Scherzer, who led the NL with 268 strikeouts and ranked second in ERA (2.51) and fourth in wins (16), it marked the third Cy Young Award of his career having also won it in 2003 while playing for the AL's Detroit Tigers.
Scherzer said he was on "cloud nine" after becoming only the 10th pitcher to win the award at least three times.
"This one is special. When you start talking about winning it three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point in time," Scherzer, 33, said on a conference call.
"It's such an unbelievable feeling and unbelievable moment that you really won't process it until about a year later, that's kind of what I found by winning these things."
Kluber returned from a back injury that limited his starts early in the season and put together a stunning second half to overtake Boston ace Chris Sale in the AL Cy Young Award race to capture the award for the second time in four seasons.
The Indians right-hander led the AL in wins (18) and ERA (2.25) and was rock-solid during his team's AL record-setting 22-game win streak from late August to mid-September.
He earned 28 of 30 first-place votes for 204 points compared to 136 for Sale, who seemed to be a lock for the award until struggling over the final two months of the season.
Kluber said it was unfair to say if this year's honor meant more than the one he first earned in 2014 but did acknowledge that a second Cy Young Award does offer benefits.
"For me personally, it kind of validates the first one," Kluber, 31, told a conference call.
"It's also just another way to kind of find that reassurance so that when you are going through hard times, or struggling and trying to work your way through things, you always want to have that self-belief to fall back on."
Major League Baseball's awards week concludes on Thursday with the Most Valuable Player Award for each league.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)