The Sky Sox benefited from strong starting pitching and just enough offense to walk off with a 4-3 Game 1 victory in a home doubleheader against Las Vegas.
Colorado Springs did not have enough of either until it was too late in a 12-8 nightcap loss.
In Game 1, Colorado Springs right fielder Kent Matthes was down two strikes to Las Vegas reliever Justin Hampson when he reached out and muscled an RBI single past a diving third baseman Zach Lutz for the team's 10th home walk-off victory this season.
The hit that scored Reid Brignac gave the Sky Sox the win in eight innings to open the seven-inning twin bill Wednesday against the Pacific Southern division-leading 51s (79-60).
On the Game 1 winning hit, Matthes was just trying to stay alive when Hampson fired a curveball low and inside.
"It was definitely a ball but I was protecting the plate because I know that's his (strikeout) pitch," Matthes said. "We have played a lot of close games over the last few weeks. It's good to get one to go our way."
Earlier, Matthes stroked a solo home run over the left-center field fence to tie the game at 3-3 in the fourth. The dinger came against reliever John Church, who took over for starter Jacob deGrom after two innings.
Las Vegas jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to doubles by Denver native Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter.
The hosts would trim the lead to 3-2 after Xavier Nady blasted a home run to straightaway center field (410 feet), hitting the ball halfway up the screen. The knock scored Hernan Iribarren, who had reached on a one-out double to center.
"Usually the wind is blowing in, but we had good conditions today," Matthes said of the two home runs by the Sky Sox. "(Starter Armando) Galarraga did a good job after the first inning and we had a few good pitches to hit."
In Game 2, Sky Sox starter Cory Riordan gave up a three-run shot to Jaime Hoffmann and a two-run homer to Nieuwenhuis to fall behind 12-3 in the fourth.
Las Vegas starter Daryl Thompson, who was playing independent league baseball until Aug. 21, allowed only six hits and four earned runs in six innings to keep Colorado Springs down 12-4 until late.
Reliever Jack Leathersich came on to start the seventh and promptly allowed a two-run double to Josh Rutledge, who tallied four RBIs in Game 2. Leathersich was replaced by Tim Byrdak, who gave up a two-run single to Matthes for the final four-run margin.
With the split, the Sky Sox (66-72) are guaranteed to finish under .500 with five games remaining. A possible fifth road game in Fresno was canceled since it will have no effect on the PCL postseason.
Right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood (MLB rehabilitation) was called up to the Rockies to make room for third baseman Ryan Wheeler, who hit a two-run homer to make it 2-2 early in Game 2. . This season's eight home doubleheaders matched the eight played in 1991. . Four Colorado College hockey players will be on hand to reach out to Sky Sox fans during Thursday's home finale.