Terry Francona Insists on Giving Praise to Scott Atchison After Clutch Relief Performance

BOSTON — Terry Francona's postgame press briefing Monday night hit a snag after a few questions. Wheels turned inside the minds of the media members on hand. There was plenty to talk about after an 18-9 win, but after a few inquiries into the impressive offensive display, the session needed a new direction.

Francona helped us out.

"Somebody please ask me about Atch," Francona pleaded, referring to his unheralded but always consistent reliever Scott Atchison.

When someone complied, Francona thanked him and then gave his righty some credit.

"That was four huge outs," Francona said of Atchison's clutch outing.

John Lackey was rather ineffective, forcing Francona to bring in Atchison with just one out in the fifth. The Red Sox led 11-8, but it had been 11-5 and Lackey left a runner on first and loads of trepidation.

On one pitch, Atchison escaped, getting a huge inning-ending double play. He did the same after the sixth inning opened with an error before giving the three-run lead over to the rest of the bullpen.

"He got the ground ball right off the bat, and again at a point where this game's got a chance to get a little bit sloppy, go in a direction we don't want it to," Francona added. "He got some huge outs."

By finishing the fifth and preserving the lead, Atchison qualified for his first major league win since July 23, 2010.

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