Red Sox

Francona: 'Im not bitter or anything'

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Francona: 'Im not bitter or anything'

BOSTON Former manager Terry Francona, appearing at a Red Sox-related function Thursday for the first time since the release of his new book earlier this week, said the process of putting the book together had been cathartic after the bitter parting of ways following the teams disastrous finish to the 2011 season.Cathartic until this week, that is.This books been done for a while and we kind of put it on the back burner and Ive been working in Cleveland and being busy and all of a sudden theres a release date, which I probably lost track of, and then all of a sudden everything comes out, which I understand, Francona said. So I hadnt really been thinking about it very much.Appearing at the annual dinner for the Boston chapter of Baseball Writers Association of America, where he will receive an award for long and meritorious service to baseball, Francona said he hopes people take the time to read the book and not just the excerpts some of which are controversial that have been released.I think theres been a reaction to the excerpts, he said. I think thats the way it works. I think as people take time to read the book, which I hope they doI hope they buy itI hope they read it... if they have to choose one I hope they buy it. I think a lot of things are in context better. Once I decided to do it, since I wasnt manager, I had time to kind of dig in and get after it. It was fun. I tried to deal year to year and I knew at some point we would have to come to the end, so we had to touch on that, too. Its a tough subject for me. Its kind of a personal one.I dont think I wake up every morning anymore thinking about it. Im not bitter or anything but we certainly have to talk about it.Some of the excerpts paint the organization and ownership especially in a less than satisfactory light. Francona, who was named manager of the Indians earlier this offseason, said he is not worried about public perception.I can't help that, he said. I tried to word it really honestly. The end was really public and hurtful but I still thought they were good owners. When I made the comment that they didnt love baseball, I think they like it, but I dont view that as being critical. I was just comparing it to my perspective on the game. So maybe Im looking at it through a different lens. I dont know.Francona said he has not heard from anyone in Sox ownership regarding the excerpts from the book, which stated that he didnt think the owners loved baseball.I havent talked to them before that, he said. So, no.Nor does he expect them to reach out.No, again, Im still waiting to hear back on the first thing, he said. Probably not.I really havent talked to principal owner John Henry. Im disappointed in that. That was part of my disappointment. Im sure that probably showed through a little bit. I was disappointed. I wanted them to care more about me than maybe what people were accusing them of saying. Its like I probably cared more about that than who said it. I just wanted them to reach out. After being somewhere for eight years, that meant something to me. So I was really disappointed.But hes not looking at the book as a kind of payback, despite his bitter departurefiring following the Sox collapse in September 2011.I dont think thats how I intended it to be, he said. I can't ever help what are on blogs, nor could I ever. I do think if you read it, its how I feel so if its taken that way, I can'tagain I thought it was how I viewed it so its the only way I can say it. How people take it, maybe thats how they want to take it. I dont know.Asked if he had any advice for new manager John Farrell, Francona replied:"He does not need my advice. We were not as good a team when he left. Ive said this a lot of times: When he came back, the glass got half full again, with a lot of players here, as it should. So except for when were playing them Ill be a big fan. He knows that.

NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

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NLCS: Cubs avoid sweep, top Dodgers 3-2 to cut series deficit to 3-1

CHICAGO - Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Baez hit solo drives in the second and fifth after going hitless in his first 20 playoff at-bats. Contreras added a long homer against Alex Wood.

Davis entered with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff homer to Turner, who went 2 for 2 and drew two walks.

Maddon became incensed that a swinging strike three against Curtis Granderson was ruled a foul after the umpires discussed the play. Maddon got tossed, and Granderson struck out swinging at the next pitch.

And after walking Yasmani Grandal to put runners on first and second, Davis struck out Chase Utley, who is hitless in his last 24 postseason at-bats.

All seven of Chicago's runs in this series have come on homers. And long drives in the second by Contreras and Baez made it 2-0.

Contreras' homer banged off the left-field videoboard and Baez's landed beyond the left-field bleachers on Waveland Avenue.

Bellinger cut it to 2-1 with his drive to right in the third. But Baez got the lead back up to two with a shot to the left-field bleachers in the fifth, the raucous crowd chanting "Javy! Javy!" for the flashy young star who was co-MVP of the NLCS last year.

No Cubs player had hit two in a playoff game since Alex Gonzalez went deep twice in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS against Miami.

Arrieta exited with runners on first and second in the seventh after walking Chris Taylor on a 3-2 pitch. He tipped his hat as fans gave him a standing ovation, a fitting show of appreciation for a pitcher with an expiring contract.

Arrieta turns 32 in March and figures to land a huge deal in free agency. The trade that brought him from Baltimore helped fuel Chicago's rise, with the right-hander capturing the 2015 NL Cy Young Award and contributing to last year's drought-busting championship run.

Limited by a right hamstring injury in the final month of the season, he threw 111 pitches. Brian Duensing retired Bellinger on a fly to end the seventh.

Turner made it a one-run game with his homer off the left-field videoboard against Davis in the eighth.

A career-high 16-game winner, Wood gave up three runs and four hits in 42/3 innings.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE