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Battling effects of illness, Bauer produces gutsy effort

CLEVELAND -- It was a different kind of night for Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer on Tuesday.

It was a different kind of night for his body. Bauer, who missed his last scheduled start on Saturday due to a bout with food poisoning, estimated that he pitched at about 30-percent strength in Cleveland's 11-5 loss to the Royals.

When asked if he did anything different between innings to keep himself sharp, Bauer admitted that he could barely remember the events that had just transpired.

"I was lightheaded from the time I started warming up before the game," Bauer said. "We needed innings and I missed my last start and put the team in a bad position. I just tried to get through as much as I could."

It was a different kind of night on the mound. Bauer didn't have his usual stuff. The velocity was down a couple ticks. The whiffs weren't there. Bauer entered the game with a 13-percent swinging strike rate -- fifth-best in the Majors. He recorded just four swings and misses on Tuesday, and just two strikeouts.

Granted, he was facing a Royals team that has by far the lowest strikeout rate in baseball, but it was clear Bauer didn't have his stuff.

"The gun was off a little bit, but he was still down," manager Terry Francona said. "I think we felt like getting through what we got was probably [good], because he certainly wasn't at full strength. I just watched him in between innings. I think it was hard for him."

Still, Bauer made it work. He was able to throw 90 pitches over six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, two walks and a homer. It certainly wasn't his best start, but given the circumstances, he gave the Indians what they wanted. And when he left the game, his team had the lead.

It was also a different kind of night in the clubhouse after the game. Bauer watched the bullpen follow his performance up by allowing eight runs. He watched the defense kick it around a bit more. He watched the bats go silent, registering just one baserunner in the final three innings. And the quiet, typically reserved Bauer showed a fire that's rarely seen, uncharacteristically using an expletive with regards to the team's performance.

Despite Bauer's unique -- but effective -- performance, the Indians have now lost four consecutive games, and have fallen to 6-13 on the season. On a night of unwanted changes, the Tribe wanted just one more thing to be different: the outcome.

"I think he's figuring some things out," reliever Scott Atchison said of Bauer. "I think he's getting comfortable out there. He's got a lot of confidence. I know he wasn't at 100 percent today, but he went out there and battled and kept us in a game and gave us a chance and did what you're supposed to do as a starter. He did a good job of it. Unfortunately, we let him down."

August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for
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