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Yankees' Damon steals show and two bases

The Yankees' Johnny Damon advances to third base

The Yankees' Johnny Damon advances to third base after he stole second base in the top of the ninth. Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz, right, gives chase. (November 1, 2009) Credit: Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA - Alex Rodriguez got the biggest hit of the ninth inning in the Yankees' 7-4 win over the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series Sunday night.

But he wouldn't have been able to if Johnny Damon hadn't made one of the most heads-up plays in Yankees postseason history.

It was Damon who singled to leftfield against Brad Lidge with two outs in the ninth on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. It was Damon who stole second base on the first pitch to Mark Teixeira.

It was Damon who noticed the Phillies were so overshifted against Teixeira that third baseman Pedro Feliz had to take the two-hop throw at second. And it was Damon who jumped up and started for the unoccupied third base, easily beating the helpless Feliz.

Damon was credited with two stolen bases on the play.

"I think what I had to see before I could start running to third base is how Pedro caught the ball," Damon said. "When I was running, I still had some of my young legs behind me. I thought being on third base, it sometimes takes away a tough slider in the dirt that I might score on. Alex got two fastballs. So it did work out for us."

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: "That's instinct. You better be sure. You've got Tex and A-Rod up next. That's great instinct by Johnny Damon."

Said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "The catcher or pitcher has to be heads-up when we have a shift on like that. It's the first time it's happened to us all year, but the catcher or pitcher has to cover third base."

Lidge followed by hitting Teixeira with a pitch to bring up Rodriguez, who had only been waiting for this at-bat his entire life.

Rodriguez drove Lidge's second pitch into the leftfield corner for a double that drove in Damon with the go-ahead run. Jorge Posada followed with a two-run single to left-center to give the Yankees a three-run cushion.

Damon went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI. In a postseason in which he is trying to earn a contract for next season and beyond, Damon is batting .254 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 13 games. He is hitting .294 in the World Series.

Damon doubled off Phillies starter Joe Blanton in the first inning and scored the Yankees' second run. He singled home their fourth run in the fifth as the Yankees took a 4-2 lead.

But Chase Utley homered off CC Sabathia with two outs in the seventh and Feliz took Joba Chamberlain deep with two outs in the eighth to tie the score at 4.

The Yankees were facing a bottom of the ninth in which Phil Coke - who would have been facing a pinch hitter for Lidge, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino - was going to try to hold the Phillies down unless Damon could keep the top of the ninth alive with two outs. He did, and then he did more.

"Just an unbelievable at-bat by Johnny Damon," Girardi said.

But it wasn't the most unbelievable thing he did.

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