The Braves apparently weren't too thrilled about that high pitch.
"We had a little discussion," Lackey said of his chat with Flowers before the pitcher's at-bat in the fifth. "It's still baseball. I'm not a pitching machine. If you want me to throw it over the plate for you, we can go somewhere else. This is the big leagues."
Home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds was right there and listened to Lackey and Flowers. Maddon watched from the dugout.
"There was conversation," Maddon said. "I thought Johnny can handle himself. I noticed he was talking to Flowers and Flowers was talking back, and Jimmy was standing there listening, so I thought there was no reason to interrupt."
Lackey threw a season-high eight innings, allowing three runs and striking out two in the loss.
"I felt great," Lackey said. "I threw the ball pretty well and was locating pretty much everything."
In his previous outing against the Reds, Lackey had given up six runs over 5 2/3 innings, and he wasn't pleased with his approach when he had two strikes against the batter. Sunday's game was different.
"With a young team like this that likes to swing a lot, you don't plan on getting to two strikes very often," Lackey said. "You know they're going to swing early in the count. It wasn't a huge part of the game today. It was more trying to locate early in the count and try to get some quick ones."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.