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Postgame interview with Terry Francona

Postgame interview with Terry Francona

How satisfying is it to see your regular season usage of Okajima and Papelbon pay off in the postseason for longer than you might have?

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, it was a phenomenal effort on both their parts, and even with the rest. If Oki doesn't throw as many strikes as he did, he wouldn't have been able to stay out there for as long as he did, but he was so good. His command was spectacular.

I mean, that set up the whole game, him being able to go out in the eighth and keeping their two fastest runners off base really helped us.

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Given Schilling's competitive nature, was it difficult going to get him in the sixth inning knowing how much I'm sure he wanted to stay in?

TERRY FRANCONA: No, he actually -- that inning before, it was a long inning. Because of the length of time in between innings and then with pitching changes, things like that, he was down in the tunnel trying to stay loose, and I've been around him so long I know his body language so well. He was fighting it that last inning, and what we didn't want to do is have somebody give up a run because they were getting stiff or they can't execute a pitch they need to. So it was time to get him out of there.

As one of the other gentlemen told Hurdle, you're going to hear these stats a lot in the next day or two, but the team that wins the first two games of the World Series over history they're 27-7 in the World Series, including the last 10 in a row. The odds are now really greatly with your team to win the World Series. I know that doesn't mean anything for this particular series, but how do you maintain those odds and continue to play the great ball that you've been playing?

TERRY FRANCONA: By the time you got done with that question the odds were going to change (laughter).

I think what we've said all along, and it'll never change, and we're really good at it, is playing the game ahead of us. Our outlook on the way we play don't change. The next game ahead of us is the most important thing on our radar, and that'll never change, regardless of what our record is.

In the sixth there, you guys put down the bunt. That maybe looks like an eighth or ninth inning kind of move. Is that maybe an indication of how you expected those last three innings to play out? You sort of figure one more run is maybe a huge deal there?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, I don't know. We just try to do what we think is in our best interest to either score a run or win the game, and the way that the offenses were going, we needed to move some runners tonight. I mean, they were -- again, when you start matching up and they have some guys that can really match up, one run can be really, really big. We did a good job of moving runners tonight.

Can you tell us what happened to Pedroia in the eighth inning and how he is?

TERRY FRANCONA: He's fine. He dove, and I actually thought he hurt his shoulder. He just banged his wrist. He's okay.

With the Rockies coming to the plate in the eighth, is that how you were hoping with Papelbon you'd get the two quick outs and then bring him in? What was your thinking going into that half inning?

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TERRY FRANCONA: That's the best-case scenario the way it worked out, but Pap was going to face Holliday, regardless. With our two fastest runners keeping Oki out there can somewhat hopefully eliminate the running game. If they do get on and you don't have Pap out there for six outs because of how good Oki was, again, that worked out about as well as it could.

You always talk about how much trust you have in Curt in games like this. Even though he's such a different pitcher from when you first managed him, what is it about him that even now you have that same trust?

TERRY FRANCONA: His will to make sure the score ends up in our favor. I mean, that's just again, I've been around him so long, I probably expect unfair things out of him. But that probably won't stop. It's a good feeling when he pitches. Whatever the situation, you know he's going to be prepared for it. And again, you're right, he is a little bit of a different pitcher. But tonight he located his fastball, threw a split, threw enough off speed pitches to get him off the fastball, located away really well, and again, whatever situation arises, he will be prepared for it.

Before the game Mike Lowell said that he knew he was just a throw in in the Josh Beckett trade, but again, he continues to just deliver the key hits for you guys. Can you just talk about that?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think that's part of him being modest, which is not such a bad thing. It's kind of an endearing quality. He's been a horse for us all year, consistent, and I mean consistent from day one and driving in a lot of runs, playing third base. Today his base running, he's just a really good player and probably a better person.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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