Kevin Tahan, the Vigilantes' oldest player, celebrated a birthday Tuesday at the expense of the Reno Chukars.
Tahan had three hits, including his first home run of the season, and led the Vigilantes to a 5-4 Western Baseball League victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,224 at Saddleback College.
Tahan's power surge, which included a run-scoring double off the center-field wall in the eighth inning, helped the Vigilantes overcome a three-run deficit by scoring two runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth.
Aaron Mitchell pinch-ran for Tahan and scored from third on Brian Grebeck's single through the right side.
In the Vigilantes' last three victories, they have scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
"This was big for the whole team," said Tahan, 32, a catcher who returned from playing in Taiwan on June 30 but missed the next two weeks because of an elbow injury. "It's nice to do something like this on your birthday--it's nice to do it any time [because] we're still in the hunt for a playoff spot; we don't have much margin for error."
The Vigilantes, 11-13 in the second half, still trail first-half champion Chico and Sonoma County. The Vigilantes are in the middle of a 12-game homestand and have won four of the first seven.
Reno, the first-half champion from the Northern Division, is 12-12.
Carlos Castillo (1-1) got the victory with two innings of relief, and Josh Belovski retired the Chukars in order in the ninth for his sixth save.
Lost amid the comeback was a strong performance by Vigilante starter John Homan, who gave up only three hits in six innings but trailed, 4-1. He retired the first 13 batters.
The loss went to Reno ace Jeff Howatt (7-2), who was supposed to start but got caught in traffic while driving from Camarillo. He entered in the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead that didn't last long.
The Vigilantes pushed across two runs in the seventh. Robert Muro (single) and Grebeck (walk) scored on singles by pinch-hitter Tim McDonnell and Brad Gennaro. In between, leadoff batter Kendrick Davis continued to struggle, striking out for the second out with runners at first and second. Davis left the bases loaded in the second inning.
Alan Burke (19 home runs), who had four home runs in five previous games, including two grand slams, grounded to second to end the seventh inning, but the Vigilantes got the rest of it in the eighth.
Phil Kernan had a bunt single and Tahan doubled off the center field wall to tie the score. It was the first time this season Tahan, who also singled on a 3-and-0 pitch, had hit the wall on a fly.
"This game was set up like the others [the Vigilantes lost on the homestand]; close games where we haven't been too clutch," Tahan said. "If you want to go to the playoffs, you have to step up; you can't rely on one guy to get you there, and we had been doing that with Alan [Burke].