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posted: 4/14/2012 8:21 PM

Opportunity knocks — and Tyler Flowers responds

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  • White Sox closer Matt Thornton, right, catcher Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko celebrate after the White Sox beat the Tigers 5-1 Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. Making a rare start, Flowers homered, stole the first base of his major-league career and threw out a runner trying to steal.

      White Sox closer Matt Thornton, right, catcher Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko celebrate after the White Sox beat the Tigers 5-1 Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. Making a rare start, Flowers homered, stole the first base of his major-league career and threw out a runner trying to steal.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox are off to a rolling start, but they had some trouble scoring runs during the first week of the season.

A.J. Pierzynski has been the Sox' most productive hitter in the early going with a .417 batting average, 2 home runs and 7 RBI, but he was not in the lineup Saturday against the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field.

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With left-handed starter Adam Wilk making his major-league debut for Detroit, manager Robin Ventura gave right-handed hitting backup catcher Tyler Flowers the start.

"It's more matchups, but I want to keep A.J. fresh, too," Ventura said. "That's important."

Flowers made the most of his opportunity in the White Sox' 5-1 win over Detroit.

He hit a solo home run that carried 423 feet into the left-field bleachers with two outs in the fifth inning, putting the Sox in front 2-0.

"A 2-1 fastball (from Tigers starter Adam Wilk)," Flowers said. "I tried to make contact, really. I wasn't too comfortable today. I'm glad I got to that pitch. I think it was a good swing for us. A little comfort, so to speak, even though 2 runs isn't much against Detroit.

"We got a little momentum going our way, and then we tacked on a few more, which is nice."

In the seventh inning, a Collin Balester pitch hit Flowers and he stole the first base of his career when the Tigers' next relief pitcher, Daniel Schlereth, made no attempt to hold him on.

Flowers scored on Alejandro De Aza's triple, and he also threw out Brennan Boesch trying to steal in the third inning.

"It's nice to have an opportunity to do it," Flowers said of throwing out Boesch. "We've been harping on it since spring and it's nice to see that come into play and see results out of it."

Flowers had good overall results in Saturday's start, but Pierzynski will be back behind the plate today as the White Sox go for a three-game sweep.

Pierzynski is two games away from 1,500 for his career, and he's caught at least 1,000 innings for 10 straight years.

Ventura wants to make sure the 35-year-old Pierzynski holds up for the long haul.

"He's going to be playing most of the games," Ventura said. "It's not a platoon or anything like that. It's more of making sure he stays fresh and I just think he'll be better for that. We'll be better for that."

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