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October 23, 2004

Terry Francona


Q.. When you made the defensive replacements in the eighth inning with Mientkiewicz, were you thinking about taking Bellhorn out and putting Reese in?

TERRY FRANCONA: If we had done that, Pokey would have been in the five hole behind David Ortiz. With Bellhorn coming up third, I'm saying, "this doesn't make sense." Pokey is a very good defensive second baseman but we tried to get him in there where it helps us. I mean, Bellhorn had another at-bat coming and not only that, you've got Manny (Ramirez) and David (Ortiz). You want them to try to get pitched to as much as possible.

Q.. Can you talk just about how offense can kind of solve a lot of problems? You guys weren't perfect tonight obviously but your offense was very strong.

TERRY FRANCONA: Yeah, we came out early and did a very good job early. We kind of gave it back to them, and we knew they wouldn't quit. We knew they would try to come back. We helped them back into it a little bit, also. But we kept grinding away our at-bats, and Bellhorn's ball, the first ball he hit, I thought was a home run off the bat, and it went so far foul, I was afraid to even get up and get excited on the second one. The first one ended up 50 feet foul, the wind blew it so far. He took really good swings and we made it hold up. Foulke pitched really, really good, both innings.

Q.. Does any momentum come out of this or is it just going to be a slugfest every night?

TERRY FRANCONA: I didn't feel a lot of momentum till the game was over. I mean, that was not an instructional video, to send to the instructional league or something. That was a little rough. I walked out here through the outfield and about twisted an ankle where Manny had his divot. We did some things wrong, but we persevered and we won. We set out to win today so it's really a great day, but we did make some mistakes that we need to clean up on.

Q.. Can you give us your analysis of Tim Wakefield today.

TERRY FRANCONA: You know, going into the game, we thought it had a chance to be tough because the wind was blowing straight in, which doesn't help his effectiveness. But he came out and threw the ball very well and then the start of the inning with the walks, I mean, when you start out, when you score, the last thing you want to do is walk somebody, and you walk three. Once he did that, he started getting outs, but we started to throw the ball around, put him -- we put ourselves in a tough spot. But, you know, it's hard, when you have a four-run lead, five-run lead, it's hard to walk people and get away with it.

Q.. Can you talk a little about Mark Bellhorn, what changed for him after Game 5 of the ALCS? He seems to be hitting.

TERRY FRANCONA: If you watched him all year, he's really been a pretty good player. He has a tendency to swing and miss. That's part of his game. He strikes out. But he's a very good player. He's been a very clutch player for us all year. He's hit a number of game-winning hits, home runs, clutch hits and I know myself, the coaching staff, the other players, we all feel real good about him, that he's going to help us. You're not going to hit every game, and if you take him out and you don't play him, they are certainly not going to get hot. So we kept him in there and he's got some real big hits for us, and we expected him to.

Q.. Coach, both teams are coming off draining seven-game series, that's obvious, do you think that plays a role in a chippy game like this?

TERRY FRANCONA: You said "chippy" and "coach" in the same sentence. I don't know if I want to answer that. (Laughter.) You know what, say that again. Once you said "coach," you lost me. Would you say that again.

Q.. Terry; is that a little better?

TERRY FRANCONA: That's okay.

Q.. Both teams are coming off that long series, does that take a little bit of a toll as you open up the World Series?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't think so. I've been sort of surprised people have asked that. We know we're playing -- the St. Louis Cardinals won 105 game, it's the World Series, we're in Fenway Park where the people are nuts. We were maybe overexcited. We just didn't catch the ball cleanly and field the ball cleanly. We were not tired. I don't think the players were nervous; they were making me nervous. But we just made some errors, but I don't think there were letdowns or anything like that.

End of FastScripts...

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