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Flowers drills go-ahead homer to dead center

CHICAGO -- Someone upstairs clearly is supporting the White Sox chances for a 2012 American League Central Division title.

And Tyler Flowers' power at the plate didn't hurt the cause either on a rainy Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

Flowers erased the Mariners' one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh courtesy of a 436-foot blast to center off Kevin Millwood after Millwood walked Jordan Danks with two outs, giving the White Sox a 4-3 victory over Seattle. The South Siders finished with a perfect 6-0 homestand, while still holding a 2 1/2-game lead in the division over the Tigers, as Detroit beat the Angels, 5-2, earlier in the day behind Max Scherzer.

Sunday's game was called after a one-hour, 55-minute delay, during which the rain only let up for a few moments around 5:45 p.m. CT, and covered only 6 2/3 innings. The win for the White Sox (71-55) ended with Ray Olmedo on third and Dewayne Wise on first, after both had singled.

Major League Baseball's Rule 4.10(c)(2) says a game is a regulation contest if it is called "If the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a fraction half-innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half-innings."

Flowers capped the winning rally, and a torrential downpour took care of the rest.

"A.J. [Pierzynski] was swearing to me that it wouldn't count and we were going to lose," said Flowers of his deciding homer. "I don't know if he was just messing with me. We have good fun. But we found out shortly after the delay it was going to count."

"We came in and had that rain delay and we didn't really know what was going on," said White Sox reliever Nate Jones, who earned his second win in two games. "They kept backing it up. We just stayed prepared in case we had to go back out here, but we'll take it."

A rain delay of one-hour, 51-minutes took place before the game's first pitch, but it was a six-minute delay in the fateful seventh that once again worked in the White Sox favor. After Millwood issued the walk to Danks, crew chief Jim Joyce called for groundskeeper Roger Bossard and his crew to tend to the infield.

Two pitches after that delay, Flowers crushed a hanging slider from Millwood (4-11).

"I thought he said they were going to put the tarp on, but they just put the Diamond Dry on," Millwood said. "Nobody knew what to do so we were just standing around. But either way, it didn't affect what happened.

"For the most part, I was able to throw the ball where I wanted to all day. Then, when I really needed to, I didn't."

It wasn't a complete victory for Robin Ventura's crew in more ways than one.

Gavin Floyd started and worked just two innings and 42 pitches before leaving with right elbow discomfort. Floyd allowed one run on three hits over two innings, walking one and striking out one. Floyd previously was on the disabled list retroactive to July 8 with right elbow tendinitis, and said that he will stay back in Chicago on Monday when the team is in Baltimore and have tests, including an MRI.

Manager Robin Ventura said it was highly unlikely that Floyd would make his next start in Friday's series opener against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

"It's one of those things I wish I could take the inflammation out and keep on going. That's not the case," Floyd said. "I feel great otherwise. I've just got to do whatever possible to get back out on the field. I just hope it happens quick."

Hector Santiago worked four innings in relief, giving up Casper Wells' go-ahead two-run shot in the fifth and departing with runners on first and third with nobody out in the seventh. Jones came on to retire Wells on a weak flyout to right fielder Alex Rios, and after Brendan Ryan failed to successfully put down a safety squeeze, Ryan floated a little spinner to second that Olmedo caught.

Jones (7-0) finished the inning by striking out Trayvon Robinson looking after walking Dustin Ackley to load the bases. He needed just one pitch to get the victory Saturday, and threw 18 more on Sunday to stay unbeaten.

"As a reliever, wins and losses don't really matter," Jones said. "Just come in and do your job. It just happens that we hit the ball after I got in."

Ryan's error on a routine Rios grounder in the second helped produce the first White Sox run, scoring on Danks' sacrifice fly. The White Sox added another run in the third when right fielder Eric Thames misplayed Kevin Youkilis' sinking liner to right into a triple that brought home Olmedo.

This rain-soaked win gave the White Sox their seventh perfect homestand of six games or more in franchise history. It was their first since July 5-11, 2010, when they went 7-0 against the Royals and Angels. They have a 21-10 record in their last 31 games and have won 21 of their last 26 at home.

In this series finale, the White Sox benefited from weather-related help.

"Mother Nature is looking at us and giving us the blessing," Santiago said. "Snake a win right there, hit a home run and then here you go, get out of here and go on the road trip. Leave home sweeping six straight."

"Sometimes Mother Nature just doesn't agree with what's going on," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "All you can hope is that you're on the good end of it and today we were."

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