It was a problem he never resolved.
Bauer (1-2) allowed four runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings, the second-shortest of his 11 career starts. He struck out eight, including Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy twice each, but also walked two and allowed home runs to Manny Machado and Nelson Cruz.
“I thought right from the get-go he was having a tough time commanding his fastball,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He was a lot in deep counts. His stuff was good, but a lot of it was elevated.”
Bauer made no excuses.
“My worst command of the year,” he said. “Felt great. Felt good all day. Just couldn’t throw the fastball where I wanted to.”
Cleveland did all its scoring in the first inning, got only five hits and absorbed its second loss in seven games.
“I think we’re playing good baseball,” Bauer said. “I wish I had given the team more of a chance to win today. At least we kept it close to the end of the game.”
Zach Britton, the third Orioles reliever, worked a perfect ninth to earn his second save.
Back in the lineup after missing two days with a right groin strain, Machado hit an opposite-field drive to right to put Baltimore ahead 3-2 in the fifth.
“It still bothers me a little bit, but nothing too crazy,” Machado said. “Like I said, feels much better than what it was initially when it first happened. We’re just going to keep treating it and hopefully it will get better.”
One out later, Cruz hit his major-league leading 16th home run on a 3-2 pitch.