A win Thursday at Banning would have clinched a Pacific League title for the Carson baseball team, its first league championship since 1974.
But the Colts find themselves back in a tight race after losing to the Pilots, 6-2. Carson (16-11, 11-3 in league) is a game ahead of Banning (12-7, 10-4 in league) and two ahead of San Pedro. The Colts and Pilots have three games remaining, including a season finale Tuesday at Carson.
On Thursday, Banning left-hander Carlos Garibay kept Carson off balance, giving up five hits and two earned runs. He walked two and struck out one.
Garibay, who had an 11-2 record in 1992, has struggled to a 3-4 record this year, but he has won his last two starts. Edgar Lopez, who gave up 11 hits and four earned runs, went the distance for the Colts in taking the loss.
"I'm getting better and better every day," said Garibay, who is recovering from an injury to his pitching shoulder. "Maybe by the playoffs I'll be where I was last year."
"This was Carlos' best outing of the year," said Banning Coach Syl Saavedra. "What a great time to do it."
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Banning scored three runs, sparked by a two-run double by James De OCampo to take a 3-1 lead.
The Pilots increased their lead to 4-1 on a Joe Gama run-scoring triple in the fifth inning.
After losing to Carson, 7-1, on Tuesday, Banning wanted some retribution.
"They embarrassed us on their field," Gama said. "We needed to embarrass them on our field."
Carson Coach Mike Kline said he felt Lopez pitched as well as Garibay, but didn't receive the fielding support. The Colts committed five errors.
"We just didn't get any back-up," Kline said.
Eight Banning starters had at least one hit, led by Gama, a catcher, who went four for four with two RBIs. Pilot center fielder Jose Morales had two hits.