KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Trevor Bauer bounced a couple of pitches in the dirt, long before it became a soggy puddle of mud.
He threw a few wide. A couple high and tight.
Even when Bauer did find the strike zone, the Royals were just as powerless to hit him.
The young right-hander allowed only a long two-run homer by Lorenzo Cain while pitching into the seventh inning, and Brandon Moss hit a two-run shot of his own as the Cleveland Indians beat Kansas City 6-2 on Thursday night in a game called early because of rain.
"Early on he had some struggles. He left a pitch over to Cain. After that, he was really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He really competes."
Bauer (5-2) has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts, getting to the seventh in each of them. He walked four but also struck out five Thursday night.
"The trend is we've been facing good pitching," said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team has lost seven of nine. "That's the trend."
After struggling to score the previous night, the Indians pounded away against Chris Young (4-2) over the first five innings. They sent eight batters to the plate during a four-run third inning, and Moss added his second homer of the series with nobody out in the fifth.
"I wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be. But when I made pitches, I felt like they fought it off and fouled it off and took some good ones," Young said. "They were better than me tonight."
The game was delayed with one out in the bottom of the eighth as lightning and heavy rain rolled into the area. The umpires waited 44 minutes before calling Cleveland's sixth win in eight games.
Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and David Murphy also drove in runs for Cleveland.
The slumping Royals offense never got Bauer in a whole lot of trouble. They didn't manage a hit until Omar Infante's single leading off the third, and the only time they punctured the scoreboard came when Cain ripped a two-run shot 422 feet to straightaway center moments later.
Otherwise, the former first-round draft pick harnessed some erratic early stuff to flummox the Kansas City lineup. Bauer made Salvador Perez look foolish with a strikeout to end the second, then rung up Alcides Escobar to leave a runner stranded in the fourth.
The result was Bauer's first victory in four career starts against the Royals.
Young had been dominant since moving from the bullpen to the Kansas City rotation, allowing just one earned run over his first four starts. But the AL's comeback player of the year with Seattle last season has struggled the past couple of weeks. Young gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings against the Yankees his last time out.
Not even facing the Indians helped. He'd been 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his career against them.
"You play a team that's hot and locked in the way some of their hitters are," Young said, "they are going to foul off pitches that maybe they would swing and miss, or they're going to get hits."
STATS AND STREAKS
Cain's homer was his first since May 2, a span of 91 at-bats. ... Infante had a single in the third, snapping an 0-for-12 skid. ... Moss has a hit in five straight games. He has homered three times in six games at spacious Kauffman Stadium.
Yost selected Seattle's Lloyd McClendon and Houston's A.J. Hinch to assist him as coaches at the All-Star game on July 14. Yost said he wanted to let McClendon be a part of the game in Cincinnati, where he made his big league debut, and reward Hinch for Houston's hot start.
Indians: Brantley was back in the lineup as the DH. He was given Wednesday night off because Francona said he was "pretty beat up."
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen (Tommy John surgery) and LHP Danny Duffy (biceps tendinitis) threw three innings apiece in a simulated game. Duffy will throw a side session Saturday.
Indians: RHP Shawn Marcum goes for his fourth straight win against Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series Friday night in Cleveland.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez starts against his former team as the Royals wrap up their homestand with a three-game series against the Rangers beginning Friday night.