A big rally Friday night was followed by a big rally-killing on Saturday night. In the process, Triple-A Indianapolis returned to the Governors' Cup playoffs.
Graham Godfrey tossed 4 2/3 innings of two-hit relief to notch his 10th win as the Indians held off Rochester, 6-4, to clinch its second straight International League West Division title.
One night after scoring six times in the top of the ninth to post a 7-6 win, Indianapolis jumped out to a 5-0 third-inning lead and seemingly put the game on ice early. Starter Andy Oliver yielded two runs in the bottom of the third, then gave up a walk and three straight singles to start the fourth before giving way to Godfrey (10-8).
The 29-year-old right-hander yielded a sacrifice fly to Ray Olmedo that cut the lead to 6-4, but retired Antoan Richardson and Eduardo Escobar to limit the damage.
"It was huge," Indians manager Dave Treanor said of his reliever's performance. "We jumped out to a lead and it got down to 6-3 and he came in with the bases loaded and one out and got out of it with just the sacrifice fly. That was really the difference in the game. He really picked us up, and it's what we really needed."
"Last night got us going and it carried into tonight. It was a very improbable win [Friday] and they got it done. They didn't want to back into this tonight. In fact, all the talk pregame tonight was that they wanted to win it tonight and clinch it themselves."
Darren Ford proved to be a spark plug out of the ninth spot in the lineup, singling and scoring in the third and drawing a leadoff walk an inning later, stealing a base and scoring the Indians' final run.
"Darren Ford really picked us up tonight," Treanor said. "He got a rally going for us and he made a big catch for us. He just utilizes his speed."
It's been a tough road to a second straight division title, something that had not been accomplished previously in franchise history. After winning 55 games over the season's first three months, the Indians are 20-29 since July 1.
"It's pretty wild," Treanor said. "We've struggled over the last month and a half. It's been a long haul and these guys did a bit of celebrating."
After Gerrit Cole was promoted to Pittsburgh, Pirates top prospect Jameson Taillon joined Indianapolis on Aug. 5 and is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts. Treanor was confident that the hurler, who notched his first Triple-A win on Thursday, will be a key component in the playoffs.
"It's a big shot in the arm," the 66-year-old skipper said. "That's a big-time arm. To have somebody like that come in and stabilize our rotation, he makes our rotation a lot better. I expect him to pitch well in the playoffs."
Duke Welker fanned two in the ninth to earn his ninth save and set off the celebration at Frontier Field. Oliver was charged with all four runs on five hits and three walks over three innings.
Jermaine Mitchell was 4-for-4 with a run scored for the Red Wings.