ARLINGTON, Texas -- Hector Santiago saw the White Sox's 3-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday as sort of a Tale of Two Catchers.
The one the White Sox used to have, A.J. Pierzynski, went 0-for-4 in his first start against his old team.
The one the White Sox have now, Tyler Flowers, delivered the winning blow, a three-run home run in the sixth inning.
“It felt like we made a good decision," said Santiago. “Everybody knew it would be tough to replace A.J. But tonight, A.J. went 0-for-4 and Flo got the home run that won it for us. A.J. was here a long time, but a lot of us came up with Flo. It was a great night for him."
Flowers, 27, said he never gave a thought to any underlying one-on-one competition with the 36-year-old Pierzynski.
“It seemed a little awkward to see him catching for them [the Rangers], just like it did when he was in the batter’s box the night before," Flowers said. “I’m glad that part of it is over and we can put that behind us now."
Pierzynski was hit by an Addison Reed pitch as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning on Wednesday. Both camps agreed it was unintentional.
Flowers said as he walked to the plate in the sixth with two out and two on, he was thinking fastball middle away. But then it flashed in his mind that Rangers starter Justin Grimm just might go to a curveball. When he got the curve on Grimm’s first pitch, Flowers connected. His towering shot into the left-field seats traveled an estimated 397 feet.
Flowers is off to a slow start, batting .186 compared to a .280 mark for Pierzynski.
“It’s been a battle," said the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder from Georgia. “I’m trying to grind it out each at-bat."
But even if he’s not getting a lot of hits, Flowers continues to get big ones. Thursday's home run was his fourth of the season, and each one has given the Sox a lead.
“I like that trend," said Sox manager Robin Ventura.