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10/19/07 12:14 AM ET

Francona postgame interview

Red Sox manager discusses team's Game 5 victory

We know Josh Beckett is always pretty good, but what does it say about him when he's really at his best when his team needs him the most?

TERRY FRANCONA: I think it says a lot about him. We've leaned on him all year. I thought early he was up in the first inning, and then once he settled down, started establishing that breaking ball, he really became the guy, the dominant pitcher that we rely on so much. He gave up three hits in the first, and then the Blake line drive and the infield single, that's all he gave up. That's pretty good.

How encouraged were you by the late rallies being generated by guys outside your big three?

TERRY FRANCONA: Well, very encouraged. We really did a good job getting runners on base early but we didn't do a whole lot with it, but we stayed at it and stayed at it and finally cashed in. We had good at bats.

We probably know the answer to this one, but I've got to ask it anyway: How tough a decision was it for you to not let Beckett finish the whole thing with the groove that he was in?

TERRY FRANCONA: Oh, no, that wasn't tough. We actually had Okajima up and Pap in the eighth. Pap hadn't pitched in four days, Oki had pitched two days ago. So no, that was an easy decision: Pap needed to pitch the ninth.

Youkilis did not have a great second half numbers-wise. Is it just a question of reaching his level now or is he doing something better than he did in the second half?

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TERRY FRANCONA: I think some of the aches and pains go away. Youk has really taken some good swings, had some good at-bats. I think the way Youk plays, he can somewhat wear down at times. And again, maybe the wrist injury when he got hit, maybe it's a blessing in disguise after it's all said and done. I don't think it was at the time, but I think some of his aches and pains go away, and his bat speed looks like it's where it was at the beginning of the year.

What was your take on Manny's long single and what did the ump say to you?

TERRY FRANCONA: You know, the hard thing is there's so much emotion, and when you think you have another run. They hustled, they talked about it, and from my understanding even on replays it's a little bit hard to distinguish. So seeing it live and happening quick like that -- I think there's a point as a manager where you don't care if it's right, you want the run (laughter).

What have you guys been able to figure out against C.C. Sabathia? He wins 19 games in the regular season and two starts here you guys have beaten him both times?

TERRY FRANCONA: I don't know that it's figuring out. We try to stay with a consistent approach against every pitcher. There's some games that C.C. has thrown this year that I'm not sure it matters who it is, he's going to throw that nine inning complete game just because he's so good.

But we've had a very consistent approach and didn't abandon it. Even tonight when we didn't get it buttoned down, didn't score, but we didn't try to do too much and we got rewarded for it.

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