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White Sox 5, Athletics 4 (12 innings): The Tyler Flowers Game

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One strike away from defeat, catcher extends game with a solo shot, then ends it with another one

Brian Kersey

The three stars of tonight's White Sox winner:

No. 1: Tyler Flowers.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Eric O'Flaherty had Flowers down in the count 1-2. Flowers spoiled two strikes, took a ball, and when Flaherty threw a hanging slider on 2-2, he didn't even bother watching it go. He had cursing to do.

Oflaherty_medium

But Flowers wasn't done. After pushing the game into extras, Flowers came to the plate with one out in the 12th. Jesse Chavez started him with a hanging curve, and Flowers opted for the high towering fly that carried into the second row for the walk-off homer.

Flowers finished the night 3-for-4 with a walk, which means he accounted for half the team's hits, and 40 percent of its baserunners.

No. 2: The bullpen.

Hector Noesi pitched his brand of baseball over 6⅓ innings -- mostly efficient, except for a horrible sequence that led to a crooked number. In this case, it was back-to-back homers that turned a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit in the fifth.

The bullpen ended up covering 5⅔ innings, matching a superior Oakland unit pitch for pitch, more or less. Eric Surkamp gave up the lone run, but that's only because Dayan Viciedo pulled up on a catchable fly ball and allowed Billy Burns to advance from second to third, where he then crossed the plate on a Sam Fuld bunt single to give the Athletics an eighth-inning lead.

That kind of mistake would usually sink such a shaky pen. So, too, would Avisail Garcia's inability to corral Derek Norris' double in the corner, which he played into a triple. Daniel Webb recovered to get a groundout, and after an intentional walk, Ronald Belisario came in and got Nate Freiman to bounce into a 6-3 double play to kill the threat.

Belisario pitched a scoreless 10th, aided by a tremendous diving catch near the line by Michael Taylor, who showed the value of good corner defense. Javy Guerra retired the side in both the 11th and 12th innings.

All in all, the bullpen allowed just three hits and three walks (one intentional), which counts as a job beautifully done by its standards.

No. 3: Conor Gillaspie.

The Sox took a quick 2-0 lead on Sonny Gray and the A's, but it wasn't really anything they did. Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez drew walks to start the game, Jose Abreu hit a productive fly to right field, and Brandon Moss booted a Gillaspie grounder for a quick 1-0 lead. A wild pitch and another productive flyout tacked on another run, but the Sox had yet to cancel the postgame show.

After getting held to one earned run over three games in Cleveland, the Sox needed to show they could score some runs on their own. Gillaspie did just that by turning and burning, Jim Edmonds style, on a high fastball for a game-tying homer over the patio.

It was a great moment for Gillaspie, but even he knows who the hero is.

Record: 64-79 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights