Indianapolis 8, Buffalo 2
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ William Pennyfeather went 5-for-5 and scored three runs Wednesday night to help the Indianapolis Indians clinch the American Association pennant with an 8-2 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.
The Indians, holding a six-game lead over Nashville with five games remaining, will finish with the league’s best record for the first time since they did it four years in a row from 1986-89.
″We had an 8-1 lead and I told them, ‘Ya know, I was on a championship team in Buffalo in ’91 and I didn’t get to throw the last out.’ I wanted to do that tonight,″ said starting pitcher Rick Reed, who went the distance in improving to 10-5.
″I told them if they (the Bisons) scored five runs, don’t even think about taking me out. I wanted to be part of that.″
Barry Lyons went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs and Reed was 2-for-4 with and RBI for the Indians, the Montreal Expos’ Triple-A team.
Buffalo scored in the first on an RBI groundout by Kevin Young, but the Indians tied it in their half on an RBI double by Lyons.
The Indians scored two more in the second on an RBI singles by Reed and Pennyfeather, and took a 4-1 lead in the third on a double-play ball by Casey Candaele.
Willie Greene hit a two-run single in the fourth to make it 6-1, and the Indians got two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Lyons and an RBI single by Doug Jennings.
Buffalo scored its final run in the ninth on an RBI triple by William Suero.
Jeff Ballard (3-6) gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings.
The Indians will play the fourth-place team - likely Louisville - in the playoffs beginning Sept. 7. The second- and third-place teams will play in the other best-of-five series.
″We’re going into this and we’ll let the chips fall where they may,″ Indians manager Marc Bombard said. ″But I’ll tell you what - you come in first out of 144 games, well, we feel we’re the best team. Indianapolis will never forget this team. This is a special team.″