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Johnny on the spot
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10/08/2004 10:17 PM ET
Johnny on the spot
Boston center fielder set the table for a celebration
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
David Ortiz, whose two-run homer in the 10th won it for Boston, celebrates with Johnny Damon. (Charles Krupa/AP)
BOSTON -- You'd never know it from watching him go about his business, but Johnny Damon had a headache during the first two Red Sox games against the Angels. A migraine headache, no less.

So, when the team got back to Boston, Damon had it taken care of in time for Game 3.

"I went to the chiropractor and he snapped my neck," Damon said. "I felt good."

But it's entirely possible Damon will have a headache again very early on Saturday.

"The migraine is gone," Damon said. "But I might have a hangover in a few hours."

Damon and the Red Sox deserve to enjoy themselves. After squandering a five-run lead, they dramatically finished off the Angels with David Ortiz's two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning.

"We're definitely going to party a bit," Damon said. "Tonight, we are going to rock out and go across the street."

The Red Sox might not have had a chance to celebrate at all if Damon had not done such a great job all season long, especially in the first round of the playoffs. Damon ended up hitting .467 (7-for-15) in the three games, with three steals and four runs scored.

Damon said he has been inspired the whole time by the teammates he enjoys so much.

"It's a frat house, we have no rules," Damon said. "We play our cards. We play our PlayStation. We have fun."

On Friday night, he said he again drew inspiration from the loyal fans at Fenway Park.

"Boston is a great place to play," Damon said. "You can talk about New York all you want. But we have something special here. I mean, when you hear the fans chanting 'D-Lowe, D-Lowe,' after all he's been through. Oh, man. We knew we had to win that game."

But there were several stunned innings after Vladimir Guerrero's grand slam, in which no one was sure if the Red Sox would be able to come back.

Damon said the players could sense that a comeback was crucial.

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
 GAME LOCATION DAY DATE TIME TV SCORE
Game 1 at New York         NYY 10, BOS 7
Game 2 at New York         NYY 3, BOS 1
Game 3 at Boston Fri. Oct. 15 8:00 p.m. FOX  
Game 4 at Boston Sat. Oct. 16 7:30 p.m. FOX  
Game 5* at Boston Sun. Oct. 17 7:30 p.m. FOX  
Game 6* at New York Tue. Oct. 19 8:00 p.m. FOX  
Game 7* at New York Wed. Oct. 20 8:00 p.m. FOX  
 * If necessary

"We knew we had to win three in a row," Damon said. "We didn't want to lose the momentum we had. But everything seemed too easy early on [in Friday's game]. We knew the Angels would not just let us win easily. That's a very good team and we knew they would come back."

The Angels might have taken their first lead in the top of the 10th inning when Jeff DaVanon drilled a Lowe pitch to deep center field. It could easily have put a runner on third base with no one out. But Damon raced straight back and made the grab.

"That scared me," Damon said. "I didn't expect it because Derek is a sinkerball pitcher and I was playing in a little. The ball just kept going and going. I was lucky, I got a good jump."

That set up the bottom of the inning when Damon again got things started with a single up the middle.

"We felt like everybody in the lineup who had a chance [to bat] could win it," Damon said.

Damon was erased on the next play as third baseman Chone Figgins fielded Mark Bellhorn's sacrifice bunt attempt and threw a little wide of second, where David Eckstein made a great stretch. One out later, Ortiz hit the first pitch served up by Jarrod Washburn over the Green Monster.

"When Ortiz came up, we knew he was going to have a good at-bat," Damon said.

And Red Sox really needed that victory, Damon said.

"We knew if [the Angels] won, we'd have to get up early and play a game [on Saturday]," Damon smiled. "We are not morning people."

After the game, in the madhouse clubhouse full of Damon's pals, the "idiots" dumped as many bottles of champagne as they could find on Damon's long locks.

"It's not my fault my hair's so darn good," Damon said. "But whatever it takes, we'll enjoy it."

Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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