White Sox backup catcher Tyler Flowers figured he'd have another night off. And then starter A.J. Pierzynski and manager Robin Ventura were ejected in the third inning and suddenly he was in the game.
Flowers responded to the quick call Saturday night. He homered to tie the game in the sixth and later had an eighth-inning, two-strike bunt single to set up an important insurance run as Chicago beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 for its fifth straight win.
"I'm always ready to come in, but not usually that early. Being behind him (Pierzynski), there's not too many opportunities to get in the game when he's starting," Flowers said.
"It was a little different for sure, but it all worked out and we got the win. That's the most important thing."
Seattle took a quick first-inning lead on Kyle Seager's three-run homer before the White Sox rallied to preserve their 2½-game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central.
Seager also connected in the ninth against closer Addison Reed to get the Mariners to within a run.
Pierzynski was ejected for apparently arguing balls and strikes with one out in the top of the third. When Ventura charged out of the dugout to protest, he also was ejected and had to be separated from plate umpire Lance Barrett by third base umpire and crew chief Jim Joyce.
"You have A.J. out there and your guy gets thrown out. You're out there protecting him," Ventura said. "I didn't think I was that mad. It's just part of baseball. It's what you do."
Pierzynski didn't reveal what he said to Barrett, joking they were disagreeing on pizza crusts.
"It's over with. It was between him and I," Pierzynski said, adding that the normally mild-mannered Ventura's outburst gave the team a spark.
"I've never seen Robin get that mad. It was one of those things that happens during the course of the season and fortunately for us we were able to win the game."
Nate Jones (6-0) got the final out of the sixth to get the win. Reed gave up Seager's 15th homer and then a single to Justin Smoak before getting the final out for his 24th save in 28 chances.
Reed blew a save Friday night when Seattle scored six times in the ninth only to get the win when Chicago rallied in the bottom half.
Flowers off the sixth with his fifth homer of the season — a drive to center on the first pitch of the inning by Blake Beavan. With two down and Alexei Ramirez on third, Dewayne Wise singled to center against off Charlie Furbush to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the seventh off Matt Thornton on a single, hit batsman and a walk. Brett Myers relieved and retired pinch-hitter John Jaso on a soft liner to second baseman Gordon Beckham to end the inning.
Chicago added an important run in the eighth on Alex Rios' double, a bunt single by Flowers and Ramirez's sacrifice fly.
Chicago starter Jose Quintana was wild in the first inning, issuing four walks. Dustin Ackley beat out an infield single to lead off and Trayvon Robinson walked. One out later, Seager hit a drive to deep right-center.
"We had them on the ropes there that first inning, maybe just a couple swings from getting them out of that ballgame early. It completely changes the complexion of the whole game," Seager said.
After Seager's homer, Quintana walked the bases loaded before getting Brendan Ryan to fly out to end the inning.
The White Sox got one back in the first on Paul Konerko's RBI single and another in the third on a run-scoring single by Rios.
And Quintana settled in after his shaky start, retiring 12 straight at one point. He made it through 5 2-3 innings, giving up five hits and three runs with four walks and four strikeouts.
"We missed some opportunities. (Quintana) did settle down," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said.
"We came out, we were aggressive, we took the lead. It hurt us when they scored in that first inning, but we still had 3-1 in that situation. Then it was just a matter of missed opportunities. We had multiple opportunities to score runs, we had multiple opportunities to execute. It didn't go down."
Beavan (8-8), who was the losing pitcher in April when Phil Humber pitched a perfect game in Seattle for the White Sox, went five-plus innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.