Deflated Indians pin hopes on Yankees

Associated Press
Published October 2, 2005

CLEVELAND - The handwritten note scribbled on the message board inside their clubhouse was the most positive sign the reeling Indians have seen for days. It read: "Bring Luggage to Ballpark."

The Indians are planning a trip to Boston.

Trouble is, they may never get to go.

Cleveland's comeback season has collapsed. And for the Indians and their fans, it's come down to this: Win today and hope the dreaded Yankees do, too. How's that for worst-case scenarios?

Rookie Tadahito Iguchi hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox held on for a 4-3 victory over Cleveland on Saturday, sending the Indians into the regular-season finale without control of their October fate.

"I'm kind of stunned at what has happened," Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner said.

Iguchi's shot to center snapped a 1-1 tie and helped set up a game in which the Indians, who didn't deliver with the bases loaded in the eighth and haven't hit in the clutch for a week, will have to win or have their inspirational season end in disappointment.

"I hope we can still sneak in there," third baseman Aaron Boone said.

The Indians only a few days ago appeared destined to reach the postseason when they concluded a 17-2 stretch.

Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen has made good on his promise that his team, which clinched the Central before arriving, would play hard in the series. Not only have they done that, but the White Sox have a chance to end the Indians' season.

After resting seven regulars Friday, Guillen joked after Chicago's win that he "might call Phoenix and see if they can bring in some instructional league guys."

But Guillen went back to a heavyweight lineup against Jake Westbrook, sitting only outfielder Jermaine Dye, who has sore legs.