The Indians have bottomed out.
Bauer gave up Hosmer's two-out homer on a 3-2 pitch in the ninth inning in the Kansas City Royals' 2-1 victory over the Indians, who have lost eight straight at home — their longest home losing streak since 1975.
Bauer (8-8) dominated the AL's best team for 8 2-3 innings before Hosmer sent the Indians to the most devastating of their 54 losses in this disappointing season.
"It's just been one of those years, man, where you just can't get anything rolling," said outfielder Brandon Moss. "You're always one step forward, two steps back. It's been a tough one."
So tough, in fact, that the Indians, who are 0-6 on their current homestand, traded outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league shortstop Eric Stamets. Cleveland entered the season with enormous expectations, but has underachieved and switched its focus to 2016 with two months left.
"I don't think we anticipated being in this spot, where we would be trading a veteran like Murphy, who is not only a contributing player on the field, but a great guy in the clubhouse and has been a big part of our team the last few years," general manager Chris Antonetti said.
"This is the situation we're in now and there was an opportunity for us to get back a player we liked and also, as important, may provide an opportunity for a younger player to come up and get some at-bats. I think our focus is a little bit more longer-term. It's really disappointing."
Hosmer's 11th homer — he's batting .422 with five homers and 19 RBIs against the Indians this season — came one pitch after Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez threw out Lorenzo Cain trying to steal second. When his homer cleared the wall, Hosmer pointed toward Kansas City's dugout, which was celebrating wildly.
Wade Davis (7-1) pitched a perfect eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth — getting a nifty groundout, and a game-ending double play — for his 22nd save as the Royals won their fourth straight and 16th in 21 games.
Bauer probably deserved a better fate, allowing just five hits in his first career complete game. The right-hander threw the pitch he wanted to Hosmer, who still managed to hit it over the wall.
"If I walk him, I walk him and get the next guy out, but I'm not going to let a guy who's hot like that beat me so I tried to bounce it and the ball was going to bounce on the tip of the plate," Bauer said. "It's freaking baseball. It sucks."
The Indians thought they had a rally started in the ninth when Perez led off with a grounder toward center that appeared to be a single. However, Royals second baseman Omar Infante ran it down on the grass and flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who grabbed it barehanded and threw out Perez.
"That was an unbelievable play," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Murphy was originally in Cleveland's starting lineup, but was scratched about an hour before the first pitch. The Indians got word of his departure midway through the game, and were still processing his loss — and their lost season — afterward.
"It's very tough to sit here and be in here and go through it, because I know what we go through and I know how much we all care," Moss said. "I know how much we all want to win. I know how much we all want to bring fans to the stadium and give them something to root for, but it's just not getting done."
Michael Bourn's speed helped the Indians score their only run. He stole second and third in the fifth, scoring on catcher Salvador Perez's throwing error. Bourn had three steals — his most since Aug. 3, 2013— and the Indians had a season-high six steals.
The last time Cleveland had six steals at home was Sept. 3, 2000, against Baltimore.
Indians: LHP Nick Hagadone was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. He underwent surgery last week to repair an elbow fracture and is expected to miss up to nine months. Hagadone had Tommy John surgery in 2008.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie starts the series finale, looking to bounce back from a loss last week in Houston when he allowed four runs and 11 hits in seven innings. He has two no-decisions this season against the Indians, who drafted him in the first round in 2002.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber dropped his 12th decision of the season in a 6-0 loss to the White Sox on Friday. The Indians haven't scored in six of his 21 starts this season.