The clutch home run for the Sky Sox was hit by the unlikeliest of players. Veteran second baseman Hernan Iribarren hit his first dinger since July 14, 2012, a two-run shot over the right field fence that ended up as the game-changer in a 13-12 win on Tuesday over Las Vegas.
A win was good for the psyche of a team (65-71) with a 14-26 record since the All-Star break.
"It's extremely important," manager Glenallen Hill said. "It's important at this point in the season to help our confidence."
Iribarren has 32 home runs in 3,896 minor-league at-bats, an average of one every 122 in his 10-year career.
A homer for Ben Paulsen made it 13-9 after a sacrifice fly by Reid Brignac scored Josh Rutledge, who had doubled off D.J. Mitchell six pitches after the Iribarren stunner had made it 11-9 before 7,154 fans at Security Service Field.
Las Vegas was not done. The 51s (78-59), leading the Pacific Southern division, scored three off reliever Steven Hensley before Eric Campbell grounded out to Iribarren to end the game.
"Our guys come out and play hard," Hill said. "We just happened to come out on the better end of things tonight after both teams started to hit late."
A strong start and a 6-1 lead for rehabbing starter Tyler Chatwood was squandered by the Sky Sox bullpen.
Las Vegas left fielder Mike Baxter blasted a three-run homer off Manny Corpas to tie the score at 9-9 with five runs, all scored after two outs, in the top of the eighth.
Colorado Springs recorded three double plays for Chatwood, whose night ended at 71 pitches (43 strikes) with one out in the sixth.
Double-A call-up Dan Houston came on in relief. He allowed three runs in the seventh before giving way to Corpas who entered with a 9-4 lead after a three-run triple by Drew Garcia in the seventh.
Garcia's triple was No. 7 for the team, four off the franchise record. . It was his first since July 14, 2012 in Tacoma. Paulsen's eighth inning homer was a team-high No.?16. . Ryan Wheeler was sent by the Rockies to Triple-A to make room for catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who was taken off the seven-day DL (concussion). Wheeler, 25, went 3 for 10 with a double and 2 RBIs in four games. . Game 1 Wednesday features Colorado Springs righty Armando Galarraga (0-2, 6.46 ERA) taking on Jacob deGrom (4-2, 4.40). Cory Riordan (4-4, 5.48) will start in Game 2 against an opponent to be determined. . The Denver Post reports that Chatwood will get a start for the Rockies this weekend.