"I feel like my stuff wasn't sharp the first inning, and then after that I kind of got going," Bassitt said.
Bassitt's first-inning struggles ended up hurting the A's, who finished the night 0-for-26 against starter Carlos Carrasco after scoring a run in the first.
Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor singled, Michael Brantley doubled and Carlos Santana walloped a two-run homer to give the Indians an early 3-0 cushion.
Bassitt said part of the problem was that he got ready in the bullpen a bit too fast, meaning he sat around for a few extra minutes before going out to pitch. In his next start, he plans to remedy that.
"Instead of 10 minutes sitting [in the dugout], just five minutes," Bassitt said. "Five minutes is plenty to catch your breath and get going."
Despite Bassitt's early struggles, he ended up pitching a gem after the first inning. The right-hander retired eight straight after Santana's home run and only yielded two more hits and one walk after that.
He said he took pride in his strong showing after the first, but he regretted the two-seam fastball he threw to Santana that stayed right down the middle and was hit "a long way."
"Probably just getting into a little better rhythm," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes the first inning is the toughest one on a starter where they find their rhythm after they throw a few pitches. It was really the same for both guys."
Carrasco, who pitched a two-hit complete game, gave up an RBI double to Josh Reddick in the first, but that was the last hit he surrendered in a game that whizzed by in two hours, 15 minutes.
Bassitt has pitched well in every start this season, but the A's have only scored eight runs in five starts since he was called up from Triple-A Nashville.
"We're just not getting him any run support," Melvin said. "He hasn't won a game yet but hasn't given up more than three runs."