Infielder Hernan Iribarren singled home Drew Garcia in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (40-32) the 12-11 win over the Tacoma Rainiers (44-31) and cap off an eight-run comeback at Security Service Field in front of 6,867 people on Military Appreciation Night. The walk-off win was the team’s seventh of the season and their first since 5/25 against the Fresno Grizzlies.
Before winning the game in the ninth inning, the Sky Sox found themselves down 11-4 heading into the bottom sixth inning. Tacoma built up their lead on four home runs, which was tied for the most dingers the Sox have allowed this season. Carlos Peguero belted two home runs, with a solo-shot in the second inning and a two-run blast coming in the fifth. The other two home runs came from Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth and Abraham Almonte in the sixth inning. All of Tacoma’s runs came against starting pitcher Drew Carpenter, who also walked four and struck out three batters. Relieving Carpenter in the sixth inning was right-hander Mike McClendon (W, 5-3). McClendon came in and shutdown the Rainiers for the rest of the game, only allowing one hit in four innings while striking out four. The righty lowers his season ERA down to 3.38 which is the lowest among all Sky Sox relievers.
After McClendon came on and recorded three straight outs in the top of the sixth, the offense woke up and the Sox began to climb back into the game. Outfielder Greg Golson led off the bottom of the inning with his fourth home run of the year. The bases then became loaded when Rainiers’ starting pitcher, Hector Noesi issued a walk to Drew Garcia and then two straight singles to Lars Davis and Charlie Blackmon. Reliever Logan Luetge came into the game for Noesi and then allowed a run when Tim Wheeler grounded out to first. Luetge then struck out Corey Dickerson to get the second out of the inning, but proceeded to give up a two-run single to Ryan Wheeler and a two-run home run to Charlie Culberson to bring the Sky Sox within one run, 11-10.
Colorado Springs tied the game up at 11 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Ben Paulsen hit a sacrifice fly to plate Ryan Wheeler who reached earlier on the inning on a force-out.
The team’s route to their seventh walk-off win of the season began when Garcia doubled to left field and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Davis. Reliever Brian Moran (L, 2-3) then issued two straight intentional walks to bring up Iribarren who recorded his second straight hit since coming into the game for Dickerson in the seventh inning.
With the dramatic win the Sky Sox move back to 2.5 games of the Rainiers for first place in the division. They also move one game close to their seventh series win of the season. Tomorrow night will feature a pitching matchup between seven-game winners Drew Pomeranz (7-1, 4.25), and Brian Sweeney (7-2, 3.81). The game is a Friday Fireworks night that is scheduled to begin at 7:05 PM MT.