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CLE@MIN: Bauer strikes out seven in start vs. Twins

The Indians return to Progressive Field for the first time since the All-Star break when they host the Mariners on Tuesday.

The series opener follows an 11-game road trip that saw the Tribe go 5-6. Despite losing four of their last five and six of eight, a reversal of fortune could be on the way as the Indians kick off an eight-game homestand.

The club's 29-19 home record is the best in the American League Central, and it will look to Trevor Bauer to improve on that against Seattle.

Most of the Bauer's success has come at home this season, where the 23-year-old right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in seven starts. In his last outing, Bauer (4-5) went six innings and gave up three runs on six hits in a loss to the Twins despite tossing his ninth quality start.

"He threw the ball well," catcher Roberto Perez said. "Some of their hitters just found the hole. I don't think they hit the ball hard, but they just found the hole and scored some runs. You can't do anything about it when you make pitches."

The Mariners will hand the ball to Hisashi Iwakuma as they begin a six-game road swing.

The 33-year-old right-hander is making his 17th start of the season and the third of his career against the Indians. He's registered a 4.32 ERA over 15 1/3 innings against the Tribe, but he has not factored into a decision.

Iwakuma pitched seven innings and allowed four earned runs -- all in the third inning -- in his first loss in nearly a month on Thursday against the Orioles. He's 5-3 with a 3.09 ERA in his last 10 starts.

"I thought he did a good job. He was a little up to start the game and was able to get away with it a little bit," catcher Mike Zunino said. "But after that third inning ... he did a good job of adjusting."

Prior to the loss, Iwakuma had gone 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts this month.

Indians: Kipnis rests on Sunday
Manager Terry Francona worked with second baseman Jason Kipnis on scheduling a day off during this road trip. With an off-day on Monday, they decided Sunday's game was an opportune time to give Kipnis a break.

Kipnis had been mired in a brief slump on the team's recent road trip and acknowledged he remains somewhat limited by the right oblique injury that sent him to the disabled list in early May. Francona said the issue is not severe, but it has probably taken a toll on the second baseman's production at the plate.

"I don't think he's in pain," Francona said on Sunday. "I do think there's been balls that he usually gets to hitting-wise that he has either fouled them or swung through them. I think he's frustrated, which I totally get. But, like good players, they play. I'm not sure you can always be 100 percent, or we'd never have a team."

Entering Sunday's contest in Kansas City, the 27-year-old Kipnis was batting .247 with five home runs, 15 stolen bases, 21 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and 39 runs scored through 78 games. He was hitting .129 (4-for-31) in his past eight games after going 4-for-10 in the first two games of the road trip in Detroit.

Mariners: Saunders hits off tee, Bloomquist gets MRI
Outfielder Michael Saunders, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 11 with a strained left oblique, began hitting off a tee this week. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Saunders could accompany Seattle on its road trip, before adding that it will "be a while" before Saunders is healthy. Saunders became eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.

In other injury news, the club placed veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist on the 15-day disabled list earlier this week with a right knee contusion after he was injured trying to leg out an infield single in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Mets. Bloomquist underwent an MRI on Thursday.

"I just saw him hopping along the hallway," McClendon said. "It hurts like [heck]."

Worth noting
• Center fielder Michael Bourn, who is on 15-day disabled list with left hamstring injury, rode on a stationary bike on Sunday morning. During Cleveland's homestand, Bourn is slated to increase the intensity of his running drills. Francona said there is still no established timetable for Bourn to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.

• Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall remained out of the Indians' starting lineup on Sunday for a second straight game due to illness. Francona said Chisenhall was suffering from "intestinal turmoil" and hopes the off-day on Monday would help him recover in time for the upcoming homestand.

• The Mariners had a pair of Cuban-born players in the starting lineup on Sunday for the first time in club history, with starting pitcher Roenis Elias and designated hitter Kendrys Morales appearing in the series finale against the Orioles. Comments