Flowers back from late-night birth with bad play in White Sox loss
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter July 23, 2014 8:51PM
Updated: August 25, 2014 5:49PM
It’s been a peaks-and-valleys kind of year for Tyler Flowers, and Wednesday was a peak-and-valley kind of day for the White Sox catcher.
After the Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals, Flowers had to explain how Mike Moustakas led with his knee to jar the ball out of Flowers’ mitt in the ninth, allowing what turned out to be the winning run to score. Center fielder Adam Eaton had made a perfect one-hop throw after fielding Nori Aoki’s single.
‘‘I thought I had it the whole time,’’ said Flowers, who heard more than a few boos and hoots from the crowd of 23,811 on a delightfully cool and sunny July afternoon.
Only hours before, Flowers happily stood at the same spot by his locker talking about his dash from U.S. Cellular Field to Northwestern Hospital after Monday’s game and how he seemed to hit every green light along the way, allowing him to arrive in time to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s second child. The big moment came only 38 minutes after the final out.
‘‘It was a whirlwind,’’ Flowers said of the previous couple of days.
The way the Sox were hitting, a clean play by Flowers might have only lengthened the time it took them to get beat. After the second inning, they scratched out only Flowers’ single to left and Alexei Ramirez’s infield hit against James Shields and the Royals’ stout bullpen. All they scrounged up offensively was Adam Dunn’s RBI single in the first that scored Jose Abreu, who had doubled. After that, Dunn and Abreu each struck out three times.
The Sox sent three batters to the plate in each of the last five innings, and with that, another strong outing by Jose Quintana — who lowered his ERA to 3.15 with seven innings and one run allowed — went down the tubes. It was the 36th no-decision of Quintana’s 2 1/2-year career.
‘‘We had opportunities and weren’t able to really scratch across anything to push ahead,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.
On the plus side for Flowers, he had two hits, giving him nine in his last 15 at-bats over the last five games. He hit .354 in the first month of the season before nose-diving to .208 in May and .129 in June. He’s trying to salvage July with a streak that hiked his average to .235 after it had bottomed out at .213.
‘‘Swinging at good pitches, getting in better counts, that always makes it a little bit easier,’’ Flowers said. ‘‘That’s kind of the big objective: Swing at strikes, take the balls.’’
The hits were almost an afterthought after that play at the plate.
‘‘I wish I would have hung on to it, but there was nothing I could do different,’’ Flowers said. ‘‘I don’t regret anything I did, and I’m not going to do anything different next time.’’
NOTES: Left fielder Dayan Viciedo, who has a tender lower left hamstring, was a late scratch from the Sox lineup Wednesday.
◆ Pitching coach Don Cooper, still battling vertigo, missed his fourth straight game and wasn’t flying to Minneapolis with the team after the game.
◆ Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 13.
◆ Gordon Beckham (0-for-4) is 1-for-22 in his last six games and 16-for-128 (.125) in his last 34.
◆ Ken Harrelson will take a break from the broadcast booth during the Twins series to attend Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. Steve Stone will handle play-by-play, with Tom Paciorek as the analyst.
◆ Wednesday marked the five-year anniversary of Mark Buehrle’s perfect game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at U.S. Cellular Field.