Flowers homers twice as White Sox stun A's

Catcher follows game-tying shot in ninth with walk-off in 12th

Flowers homers twice as White Sox stun A's

CHICAGO -- Here's a rule of thumb to bank on concerning White Sox success and Tyler Flowers: If he hits two home runs in a game, the White Sox will win said contest.

Flowers accomplished that feat on Sept. 2 at Target Field, with the White Sox claiming victory in 10 innings. And he went deep twice again Monday night at home against the A's, during a 5-4 victory for the White Sox in 12 innings.

The only difference this time around was that Flowers' first homer came against Eric O'Flaherty in the ninth, tying the game with the White Sox down to their last strike. His second came in walk-off fashion against Jesse Chavez (8-8), connecting with one out off the first pitch he saw for his first game-winning homer.

This effort from Flowers ended a four-game losing streak for the White Sox, raising their record to 5-14 over their last 19. It also gave the 64-79 South Siders more wins than they had all of last season with 19 games to play. Flowers became the first player in the Majors to hit a game-tying homer in the ninth and a game-ending homer in extras since Paul Goldschmidt on Aug. 13, 2013, and the first for the White Sox since Joe Crede vs. Toronto in 2002.

"I definitely didn't expect to hit a home run either time," said Flowers, who now has 14 homers. "I was just trying to battle and go off information I had in front of me and it happened to work out."

"It was a breaking ball that probably just stayed up a little bit more," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin of Flowers' ninth-inning homer. "I'm sure he was just trying to wrap it down and in, and kind of left it up some."

While it was Flowers' bat that did the ultimate damage, it was Michael Taylor's glove that prevented the A's (80-63) from having a chance to win in 10. Coco Crisp lined a one-out shot down the left-field line off Ronald Belisario, and Taylor made the decision for a full-out dive.

Taylor, who was traded from Oakland to the White Sox on June 14 of this season, took extra bases away from his former teammate.

"He's on third base for sure, as fast as that guy is," said Taylor of Crisp, when asked what he thought would have happened if he missed on that attempt. "It was just one of those things where if I let it drop and it scoots by me, he might be on third base as well."

Javy Guerra (2-3) earned the victory with two scoreless innings, following up another quality start from Hector Noesi. The right-hander stands at 8-8 with a 4.32 ERA over his 24 starts for the White Sox, who are 14-10 in those starts.

The only real problem for Noesi came in the fifth, when he allowed Derek Norris' single, Josh Reddick's game-tying homer and then Jed Lowrie's go-ahead shot. He finished with a no-decision when Conor Gillaspie launched his seventh homer leading off the sixth against Sonny Gray.

Oakland took what looked to be control of the game due to a couple of questionable White Sox defensive plays in the eighth. After pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo drew a walk from Eric Surkamp and pinch-runner Billy Burns swiped second, Crisp dropped a fly ball in front of left fielder Dayan Viciedo to put runners at the corners with one out. Viciedo seemed to pull up just short of the baseball and heard it from the crowd for that effort.

"You expect him to make that play," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Viciedo.

San Fuld followed with a drag bunt that first baseman Andy Wilkins couldn't field and scored Burns with the go-ahead tally. A Daniel Webb wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third with two outs, but Adam Dunn, who finished 1-for-5 in his return to Chicago, struck out looking to end the threat.

Eventually, the A's paid for those missed opportunities courtesy of Flowers.

"I'll be happy and content for a couple days," Flowers said. "But after that it doesn't really mean anything after today. Kind of enjoy the moment."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.