Bauer for the only time this season had more walks than strikeouts and threw only 58 percent of his pitches for strikes. He was happy the Indians won, but he was not pleased with his performance.
Monday night was a return engagement for Bauer, the Twins and their starting pitcher Kyle Gibson. Bauer sets a high bar for himself, but Tribe's 10-0 victory had to leave him in a better frame of mind than he was just a week ago.
Bauer (11-6, 2.25) threw six scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts, three hits and three walks. It was his 10th double-digit strikeout game of the season and pushed him to second in the AL with 206 strikeouts for the season.
His 10 double-digit strikeout games tie him with Boston's Chris Sale for the most in the AL.
No one enjoys strikeouts more than Bauer, so that in itself had to make him happy. When he struck out Joe Mauer to end the fifth, it was the first time in his career he'd struck out 200 batters in a season. His previous high was 196 last season.
Bauer, who improved to 6-7 in his career against the Twins, has won his last three starts. In the last two, he's held the Twins to two runs in 12 1/3 innings.
The Indians, who won for the eighth time in their last 11 games, settled Monday's game relatively early. They took a 2-0 lead off Gibson (5-9, 3.60) in the first. After Francisco Lindor walked and Michael Brantley singled to start the inning, they advanced when shortstop Jorge Polanco couldn't handle Gibson's pickoff throw at second base.
Jose Ramirez delivered Lindor with a sacrifice fly in foul territory down the right field line. Brantley, who went to third on the play, scored on Edwin Encarnacion's dribbler.
The Indians did not dribble again for the rest of the night. Homers by Yonder Alonso and Brandon Guyer helped create a four-run fourth inning. Alonso started the inning with his 19th homer, while Guyer added a two-run drive to left for his sixth homer of the season and first against a right-hander.
Jason Kipnis, who singled and walked in his first two plate appearances, started the sixth with a homer that just made it over the center field wall. It was Kipnis' 11th of the season.
Encarnacion added the fourth homer of the night, a three-run drive to center field in the seventh. It gave Encarnacion 25 for the season along with four RBI to push his season total to 79.
Bauer and relievers Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez and Dan Otero on the three-hitter. It was their 12th shutout of the season.
The game was so out of hand that the Twins pitched catcher Mitch Garver in the eighth. He did not allow run.
What it means
The Indians are only 6-7 against the Twins, but they are 33-15 in the AL Central with a 10-game lead.
Bauer threw 112 pitches, 69 (62 percent) for strikes. Gibson threw 95 pitches, 50 (53 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Twins and Indians drew 18,620 fans at Progressive Field on Monday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 85 degrees.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66) will face the Twins and lefty Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 2.60) at 7:10 p.m. tonight. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR-FM 95.3 will carry the game.
This will be Carrasco second straight start against Mejia and the Twins. Carrasco struck out 10 and threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday at Target Field in a 2-0 win over the Twins. Mejia threw five scoreless innings before the bullpen was called.