Flowers power: Homer, defense provide spark
KANSAS CITY -- One player neatly sums up the White Sox 12-1 rout of the Royals on Friday night in all facets of the game at Kauffman Stadium.
Catcher Tyler Flowers guided John Danks to a complete-game effort, marking the southpaw's 10th win in 12 career decisions against the defending American League champions. Flowers also caught a throw from left fielder Melky Cabrera to nail Cheslor Cuthbert at the plate on Paulo Orlando's two-out single to end the second inning in what was then a three-run game.
And it was Flowers who delivered the proverbial knockout punch in the fourth off former Braves teammate Kris Medlen when Flowers crushed his ninth homer of the year, a three-run shot to double the White Sox advantage. Flowers connected on a 2-2 curve as the culmination of an eight-pitch at-bat with Alexei Ramirez on third and Carlos Sanchez on second.
"He didn't really make too many mistakes besides that one. There was maybe a fastball early out over. I wasn't able to put that one in play," Flowers said of the homer. "Then, I just tried to battle.
"Runners on second and third, less than two outs, hoping he would leave something up in the zone to at least get a sac fly. I was able to hit it pretty good and it got out. It was a nice reward for trying to do the right thing and get the job done in that situation."
The play in the second wasn't quite as difficult. Cuthbert didn't really hit third until Cabrera already had picked up the baseball, but third-base coach Mike Jirschele took the chance and sent Cuthbert home anyway.
Ramirez ran through White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing's stop sign and still managed to score from second on Tyler Saladino's single to left in the eighth, so often times those risks pay off. Cabrera and Flowers made sure it didn't in this case for the Royals.
"Every time you feel like you got a chance, the next challenge is getting the ball," Flowers said. "What kind of hop is coming in? That was one of the more easy hops that I've had. Initially, you try to read it: how much time do I have, how far back can I go if I need to change the hop or create a long hop, or avoid the short hop?
"It was pretty much a perfect hop right there. Made sure two hands secure it and get the tag down in front of the plate. Melky has a great arm. He does a good job getting rid of it and getting in position on balls like that where any time the ball is at him, I feel like we've got a chance."
As for Danks, he yielded one ninth-inning run on seven hits overall, while striking out five. From the third through the eighth, he allowed one baserunner.
"His cutter was a big pitch today," Flowers said. "He had a good feel for that. He had a little extra giddy up on the fastball it felt like. He had pretty good command of that pitch."