Indians force tiebreaker for IL West Division title

The Tribe uses a 5-1 win and Toledo loss to keep its postseason chances alive

LHP Shane Youman is 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA in seven starts on the road this season. (Bill Gentry)

By Matt Segal / IndyIndians.com | September 4, 2006 1:28 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Left-hander Shane Youman allowed just one run over six strong innings and Indianapolis rallied for three scores in the top of the seventh to post a 5-1 win over Louisville before a crowd of 9,982 in the regular-season finale Monday afternoon at Louisville Slugger Field.

The win, coupled with Toledo's 4-1 loss to Columbus, keeps the Tribe's postseason chances alive. Indianapolis (76-66) will now travel to Fifth Third Field for a Tuesday night tiebreaker against the Mud Hens (76-66). The winner will capture the International League's West Division crown and move on to the 2006 postseason.

"I'm extremely proud of the guys in this clubhouse," Indians Manager Trent Jewett said. "This is certainly a resilient group. The bottom line is they find ways to get it done, even when outsiders think they can't. The effort has been there since day one, and that's the most important factor."

Charlotte (79-62), which cruised to the IL's South Division title, awaits the Indy-Toledo winner in a best-of-five first-round playoff series. The Knights will either travel to Victory Field in Indianapolis or Fifth Third Field in Toledo for the first two games on Wednesday and Thursday.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (84-58) and Rochester (79-64) will square off in the IL's other first-round playoff series. The Red Barons captured the North Division title, while the Red Wings enter postseason play as the league's Wild Card club. Games 1 and 2 of that series will be played on Wednesday and Thursday at Frontier Field in Rochester.

Youman (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO) earned the win on Monday afternoon, improving to 4-0 with the Tribe. The 26-year-old is now 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA (5 IP in 25.1 IP) over his last four starts.

Youman has also recorded 21 consecutive appearances -- between Double-A and Triple-A -- without a loss. His last setback came as a Double-A hurler on May 20 at Binghamton.

"Shane had excellent stuff today," Jewett said. "He was very efficient and got ahead of almost every hitter. Shane probably could've gone the distance, but I felt like we need a pinch-hitter in the seventh. That was the toughest decision I had to make all day."

Indians RHP Jesse Chavez (2.0 IP, 1 SO) and LHP C.J. Nitkowski (1.0 IP, 1 BB) combined with Youman on the two-hitter. Chavez was credited with his third hold since joining the Tribe in a July 31 trade.

Indianapolis took advantage of three Louisville errors to cross the dish three times in the top of the seventh.

RF Adam Boeve reached on a fielding miscue by the Bats shortstop and SS. J.J. Furmaniak on a bunt single up the third-base line before both runners moved into scoring position on a mishandled pickoff attempt at second.

CF Vic Buttler then roped a two-run single to right as Boeve and Furmaniak came plateward. 1B Chris Richard, who was intentionally walked, trotted home moments later on 2B Craig Stansberry's sacrifice fly to center.

Indianapolis tacked on an insurance run in the ninth to provide the final margin of victory.

Buttler and Boeve collected two hits apiece for the visitors. No individual from the home dugout had more than one base knock.

Louisville LHP Phil Dumatrait (5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO) started and did not factor in the decision. RHP Tim Bausher (1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) was pinned with the loss, ending the campaign at 4-4.

The Bats wrap up their season at 75-68, good for third place in the IL's West Division.

Tuesday night's Indianapolis-Toledo contest is slated for 7 p.m. EDT. RHP Britt Reames is expected to toe the rubber for the Indians, while RHP Colby Lewis is scheduled to get the nod for the Mud Hens.

The game will be carried by ESPN-950 AM and IndyIndians.com as Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley have the call. Tuesday's pre-game show begins at 6:40 p.m.

"It's amazing to think that we've played 142 games and nothing has been decided," Jewett added. "Tuesday night's game should be a lot of fun. It will be a challenge for both teams. We are going to give everything we have and, hopefully, we are still playing come Wednesday."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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