Indians Clinch 2nd Straight IL West Title
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Indianapolis Indians defeated the Rochester Red Wings 6-4 on Saturday night to clinch the International League West Division title for the second straight season. The historical night marked the first time in team history that the Tribe has won back-to-back division titles since re-joining the IL in 1998.
Not only was the Tribe's historical win the first time the organization has earned back-to-back titles as members of the International League, but it also marked the first back-to-back division crowns for Indianapolis since the 1994-1995 teams led by Marc Bombard captured back-to-back division titles while part of the American Association.
With Indianapolis taking home the West Division championship on Saturday night and the Durham Bulls clinching the IL South title earlier in the week, the top two teams in the League are now assured to face-off against each other in the first round of the Governor's Cup playoffs.
As winners of the West Division, the Tribe will host Games 3-5, as necessary, of their best-of-five series against the Bulls. Indianapolis will begin the opening round of the playoffs with Games 1-2 in Durham, before traveling home to Victory Field for a guaranteed Game 3 on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7:05 p.m. If neither team has won three contests through Friday's matchup, the Indians and Bulls are scheduled to play at Victory Field on Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8, both at 7:05 p.m., until a winner is decided.
The Governors' Cup Championship Round will then be held in a best-of-five format from Sept. 10-14. Should your first-place Tribe advance into the second and final postseason series, the Indians are guaranteed to host Games 1-2 at Victory Field on Tuesday, Sept. 10 and Wednesday, Sept. 11. First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Playoff ticket, promotional and merchandise material will be released in the coming days, so be sure to visit IndyIndians.com and follow the Tribe on Twitter (@IndyIndians) and Facebook (/IndianapolisIndians) for continued updates.
The Indians took home the clinching victory thanks to a five-run offensive outburst in the top of the third and 6.0 scoreless innings of relief from the bullpen led by RHP Graham Godfrey.
Indianapolis looked to quickly wrap up their run at an IL West Division title by exploding for five runs in the top of the third inning on Saturday night. LF Darren Ford led off the frame with a base hit and moved to third on a throwing error and sacrifice bunt, before SS Robert Andino drew a walk.
Pirates rehabbing OF Travis Snider then drove home the first run of the game with an RBI base knock that plated Ford, before 1B Matt Hague drew a walk to load the bases. DH Russ Canzler quickly brought home the second score with a sacrifice fly, before 3B Jared Goedert added an RBI single and C Kelly Shoppach an two-run base knock to give the Indians a commanding 5-0 advantage.
While the five-run third got the Tribe rolling, it was the Indianapolis bullpen led by Graham Godfrey that shut the door on the clinching win. Godfrey (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, BB, 2 SO) entered the contest with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fourth, and escaped allowing just one inherited run to score. The Tribe right hander then went on to allow just two hits over 4.2 scoreless innings to earn his 10th win of the season.
Following Godfrey, LHP Atahualpa Severino (0.1 IP, SO) struck out the only batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth to pick up his sixth hold, before Duke Welker (1.0 IP, BB, 2 SO) struck out two in the ninth to finish out the win and notch his eighth save.
After the clinching the IL West Division Crown the Tribe will now look turn in their first back-to-back 80+ win season since 1994-1995, beginning with the series finale in Rochester on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. IL ERA leader Kris Johnson (10-4, 2.41) is expected to make the start for the Indians, while the Red Wings are scheduled to counter with Greenfield, Indiana native Kyle Gibson (7-5, 3.01)
The game will be carried on WNDE 1260 AM, WNDE.com and via iheartradio, a mobile application for iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with Howard Kellman and Will Flemming on the call. The pre-game show begins at 12:45 p.m.
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