Rebounding from player promotions, injuries, and a sluggish month of July, the Indianapolis Indians clinched their second consecutive International League West crown Saturday by edging Rochester 6-4 at Frontier Field in New York state. It marks the first time in Indians franchise history the club has won back-to-back titles (since re-joining the IL in 1998).
Manager Dean Treanor kept the Tribe focused after a post-All-Star game slide saw the Indians commanding double digit lead shrink to just five games in late July. Treanor's even-keeled personality was just what the Tribe needed, along with some timely hitting and good pitching. The Indians rebounded in August, and have won their last three games. Since August 7, Indianapolis is 10-6.
After the Tribe rallied in improbable fashion Friday with a six-run ninth inning to tie a game that would eventually win, the bats did the talking for Indianapolis on the divisio2-for-5 with two RBI for both his first multi-hit and first multi-RBI game with the Indiansn winning evening. Indianapolis plated five runs in the third evening and received a big lift from Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach went 2-for-5 with two RBI for both his first multi-hit and first multi-RBI game with the Indians. Alex Presley went 2-for-4 on Saturday for his third straight multi-hit effort, and has collected multiple hits in six of his last eight games, Presley has now hit safely in all eight games since being optioned from Pittsburgh on Aug. 16 ... He is 16-for-32 (.500) with seven runs scored during his current eight-game hitting streak, ranking tied for first in the IL in both hits and runs, tied for second in batting average and fourth in OBP (.529) during that span.
Indianapolis received solid bullpen efforts from Graham Godfrey and Duke Welker. Godfrey pitched 4.2 scoreless frames of relief, while Welker nailed the game, and the division crown down by tossing a scoreless ninth for his eighth save on the year. Welker has given up just one run in his last seven outings (11.0 IP).
The Tribe goes for the four-game series sweep Sunday. Indianapolis has never swept a four-game set in Rochester since joining the IL (1998).
Smoke Signals: Besides the hot bat of Shoppach and Presley, Jared Goedert also extended his hitting streak to eight games. Goedert is 11-for-27 (.407) during his current streak, ranking tied for both the second-most doubles (4) and sixth-most hits the IL.,,,,The Indians offense has been jumpstarted by Darren Ford. He went 1-for-3 with two runs and a walk against the Red Wings and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 starts (since Aug. 2). Ford batted just .203 (31-for-153) with 19 runs and a .287 OBP in 52 games before the All-Star break, but is now hitting .318 (21-for-66) with 13 runs and a .361 OBP in his first 25 games since the Midsummer Classic.