Bauer pitched Game 1 of the playoffs against the Braves and struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings. But the Reds lost 1-0 in 13 innings and failed to score during the Braves' series sweep.
Bauer went 5-4 with an NL-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts, helping the Reds reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The 29-year-old right-hander struck out 100 in 73 innings and led the majors with two shutouts, a pair of seven-inning performances on doubleheader days.
The brash Bauer is the first Cy Young winner for Cincinnati, the majors’ oldest franchise. He became a free agent after the season and turned down the Reds’ qualifying offer, but left the door open for a return.
Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was third, ending his bid for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award.
Using a versatile repertoire that includes a looping curveball and a wipeout slider, Bieber went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings during the pandemic-shortened season, leading the majors in ERA and strikeouts and tying Yu Darvish for the most wins.
Bieber became the second player in franchise history to win the pitching AL Triple Crown, joining Hall of Famer Bob Feller in 1940. He also was the first pitcher to lead the majors in all three categories since Johan Santana for Minnesota in 2006.
Bieber was the first unanimous AL winner since Justin Verlander for the Detroit Tigers in 2011. It was the 10th time that an AL pitcher was a unanimous choice for the award.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda was second in AL voting, followed by Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu.
The BBWAA will announce the MVPs on Thursday night. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is a finalist for the NL award.