"That's the best I've been in months, if not all year," he said.
However, the box score told a different story. Bauer (11-7) was roughed up for six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Numbers don't lie, but the Cleveland clubhouse sided with Bauer's assessment of the performance.
"The first five innings, I thought that was as good of stuff and the way he pitched," manager Terry Francona said. "The lone run was on a really good pitch to [Jose Abreu] that he just fought off and flared to right.
"Then in the sixth, he walked [Adam Eaton] on a 3-2 changeup and they started bunching hits -- and they came in a hurry. I thought he was getting frustrated toward the end."
That's an understatement.
Following the walk to Eaton, Tim Anderson had a ground-ball single up the middle and Melky Cabrera lifted a fly ball to right-center that dropped in mainly because Indians center fielder Rajai Davis was shaded toward left field. That loaded the bases, and Abreu drove in the first run of the inning with a single to center.
Bauer then struck out Alex Avila with the bases loaded for the first out, but Todd Frazier answered with a ground-ball single up the middle to drive in two runs and make it 4-1. Just like that, Bauer's night was over. The bullpen didn't fare any better and when the dust had settled, Chicago had scored seven runs on seven hits in the sixth.
"I gave up three first-pitch hits that inning," Bauer said. "Two of them were balls, one of them split the black of the plate. I got a fly ball that happens to land in the middle of two outfielders, there were two weak ground balls up the middle. The one to Frazier, I knew he was gonna be swinging, and I knew the exact pitch I wanted to. It was a double-play ball that snuck up the middle.
"I don't know. I was really, really good tonight."
There certainly was no arguing that Bauer was good before the sixth. After giving up the RBI single to Abreu in the first inning -- a bloop that just made it over the head of second baseman Jason Kipnis -- Bauer retired 13 of 14 batters, including six strikeouts. The only one to reach during that stretch was Carlos Sanchez, who was hit by a pitch.
So what happened in the sixth?
"Nothing," the right-hander said. "I executed pitches and they didn't hit the ball hard. I don't feel like I deserved to have that happen. They got six hits tonight, only two of them were in the strike zone, so … I don't know. That's the best I've been in months.
"Baseball is a [messed]-up game."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Indians on Tuesday.