ATLANTA -- Though Tyler Flowers recorded a career-high three doubles and fueled the comeback that enabled the Braves to extend their mastery of the Marlins with Thursday night's 8-5 win at Turner Field, the veteran catcher may best remember this as the night when he erupted on home-plate umpire Larry Vanover and experienced the oddity of being ejected with two outs in the ninth inning.
"There comes a point where you have to do something," Flowers said. "It's better me than the pitchers getting ejected."
Flowers delivered his second double during the decisive four-run sixth inning and added another in the seventh to help the Braves gain the four-run lead closer Arodys Vizcaino helped maintain when he retired the first two batters he faced in the ninth inning.
Vizcaino has struggled with his control over the past couple of weeks, but Flowers did not seem to think the right-hander was completely to blame for issuing consecutive two-out walks in the ninth. Thus, when Adeiny Hechavarria came to the plate with two on and drew a first-pitch ball, the usually mild-mannered catcher unleashed his frustration as he spun and yelled in Vanover's face.
"It was definitely more than just a few pitches before," Flowers said. "It was kind of throughout the night, and it seemed like it was both sides. In my opinion, it wasn't a very good zone all night. Sometimes, you try to work with them and encourage them to look at some pitches better. He didn't really seem to be taking to my advice. Finally, the situation gets tight toward the end, and I felt like it was a blatant strike."
In the end, Flowers' ejection did not cost him anything more than a potential fine and what he might now owe A.J. Pierzynski, who had to quickly don the catching gear and squat behind the plate after spending the previous few hours assuming he had the night off. Hechavarria chased Vizcaino with an RBI double, prompting the entry of rookie right-hander Mauricio Cabrera, who bruised Pierzynski's glove with a couple of 102-mph fastballs before securing his first career save on Cole Gillespie's game-ending lineout.
"For Tyler to react like that, I've got to believe Tyler right there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's as professional as they come. When you get a reaction like that from him, I've got to think you've got a pretty good reason for it."
Flowers had never previously recorded as many as two doubles in any of the previous 477 games of his career. It was certainly noteworthy for him to record three in one game. But more importantly, they were timely.