"He's probably one of the best pitchers going right now," Seattle Manager John McLaren said after Lee won his fifth straight start, leading the Indians to an 8-3 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night.
Lee's consecutive scoreless innings streak ended at 27 on Wladimir Balentien's three-run homer in the seventh. That raised his earned-run average from 0.28 to 0.96, still lowest in the majors.
"I try to put up zeros every inning," said Lee, 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA last season. "It had to come to an end eventually."
Lee (5-0) was pulled after the homer, the only runs he allowed in six innings. The left-hander has given up four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings in his five starts.
Before Balentien's home run, Lee hadn't allowed an earned run since the fourth inning against Oakland on April 13.
Franklin Gutierrez drove in three runs for the Indians. Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn (1-4) allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings for his third straight loss.