by JOE PAISLEY firstname.lastname@example.org -
Many of the 6,867 fans at Security Service Field must have learned from the foolish Miami Heat fans after Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Most did not leave before the game was over. They were happy they stayed.
Colorado Springs recorded its seventh walk-off home victory this season to pull out a 12-11 win on Thursday night over Pacific Coast League Pacific Northern Division leader Tacoma.
Colorado Springs’ Drew Garcia hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Lars Davis moved him to third. Intentional walks to Charlie Blackmon and Tim Wheeler loaded the bases for a possible double play.
But pinch-hitter Hernan Iribarren, who hit a leadoff single against reliever Brian Moran in the eighth, knew exactly what to do.
“I knew he would throw off-speed because of how he threw against me earlier,” he said of his winning single. “I just stayed calm and held back a little.”
The fans can thank reliever Mike McClendon, who allowed one hit over the final four innings against a team batting .300 on the road, for giving the Sky Sox a chance to pull off the comeback. Tacoma fell to 35-3 when leading after the seventh inning.
“McClendon did an outstanding job,” Iribarren said. “He came in and shut them down. As a team, we never gave up.”
Colorado Springs (40-32) knocked out Tacoma starter Hector Noesi after three runs in the fifth and a solo home run by Greg Golson that sparked a six-run sixth.
Rainiers reliever Lucas Luetge would allow five runs in the sixth on a two-out, two-RBI single by Ryan Wheeler, and a pitch later, a two-run homer by Charlie Culberson that made it 11-10.
Ben Paulsen’s sacrifice fly tied the game at 11-11 in the eighth.
Tacoma feasted on Sky Sox starter Drew Carpenter, hitting four home runs, two by Carlos Peguero, to pull away for an 11-4 lead in the top of the sixth. The four dingers gives the Rainiers a PCL-best 89 home runs.
Injured pitcher Aaron Cook (arm) threw a simulated game Thursday afternoon at Sky Sox stadium. . Nine-year veteran left-hander Jeff Francis, 32, accepted an assignment to Colorado Springs to make room on the Rockies’ 40-man roster for righty Roy Oswalt, who started against Washington Thursday night. His earliest start may be Sunday at Sacramento. . Francis made 11 starts for the Rockies this season, going 2-5 with a 6.58 ERA. . According to the Denver Post, Sky Sox right-hander Chris Volstad, who won 4-1 Tuesday, was waived. . Former Rockies manager Jim Tracy will be in the MLB lineup for Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. Heroes Classic celebrity charity softball game. Former Rockies standout Vinny Castilla will also play Saturday.