White Sox manager Robin Ventura considered Friday’s comeback ninth inning victory over Seattle the kind of thing that could be “a momentum builder.”
But Ventura found an old-fashion way Saturday to motivate his team when it trailed 3-1 early.
He got ejected, along with catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
And as soon as he did in the third inning, starter Jose Quintana’s wildness disappeared, Pierzynski’s back-up Tyler Flowers delivered two key hits and the Sox went on to a 5-4 victory.
“Isn’t that how every game is supposed to go?” said a smiling bench coach Mark Parent, who took the reins when home plate umpire Lance Barrett booted Ventura after he came to the defense of Pierzynski.
Pierzynski was thumbed for arguing a ball call to Justin Smoak, though he never turned from his crouch to face the umpire.
“I didn’t see A.J. show him up more than just talking to him, although you don’t know what he said,” said Parent, a former catcher.
More important was what the incident seemed to trigger in the Sox, who won their fifth straight in another come from behind effort.
“It was kind of fun to see Robin get that mad,” Pierzynski said after his sixth career ejection.
“I don’t know if it’s a lift, but it becomes different,” said Ventura, who was tossed for the third time this season. “It was a good night for Flowers and one of those games where Q kept battling and that’s good.”
The Mariners batted around against Quintana in the first, the Sox lefty giving up all four of his walks around two hits–the big blow a three-run homer by Kyle Seager.
Seager homered again in the ninth off Addison Reed (24th save) but the Mariners did nothing in between against Nate Jones (6-0), Matt Thornton and Brett Myers.
After throwing 42 pitches in the first, Quintana retired 11 straight and gave up only three more hits.
And his first strikeout came against Smoak immediately after the ejections.
“It energized me a bit,” he said of the ejections. “To be honest, I don’t know what it was in the first. I was trying to throw strikes and it wasn’t happening.
“A.J. and Robin stuck up for me and the team,’ he added.
Flowers delivered as much with a homer (5th) leading the sixth off Blake Beavan (8-8) that tied the score before Alexei Ramirez doubled and later scored to give the Sox the lead.
Flowers had a perfectly laid bunt single in the eighth that advanced Alex Rios (double), Rios scoring what began the deciding run on a sacrifice fly from Ramirez.
“I’m always ready to come in, but not usually that early,’ Flowers said. “It was a little different for sure, but it all worked out and we got the win. That’s the most important thing.”
The outcome preserved the Sox 2 game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
The Sox bench played a role in left field as well after Dayan Viciedo was scratched at game time with right shoulder soreness. Jordan Danks took his place.
“The guys are ready to play whenever they come in,” Parent said of the bench. “They pay attention.”
“The energy was definitely high in the dugout,” Flowers said. “But at the same time we had the spark from before the game. These are big games now, especially against a gritty team like Seattle. Maybe it helped. Maybe it didn’t. We got the win.”
NOTES: Viciedo said after the game he was feeling better and probably will be available to play Sunday. Viciedo felt the discomfort during batting practice, but Parent said he was available by late in the game if he had been needed.