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April 22, 2013

Gomes' winning influence worth the two-year deal

BOSTON — Winning follows Jonny Gomes almost everywhere he goes.

He’s sort of like Johnny Damon in that respect.

Gomes certainly had a blast last year on a young Oakland Athletics squad, which won the AL West on the final day of the season after being nine games under .500 on June 10.

“I think in a unique situation, probably only there where it would work, was the lack of service time that every one (on that team) had,” Gomes said. “You see all the time people going into Oakland. They hate going into Oakland because there’s so much foul territory, it’s not a good clubhouse (facility-wise), it’s not a good field. It’s a graveyard. You can’t hit it out of there.

“How do you get that as a home-field advantage?” Gomes added. “Well, you get a whole bunch of guys who are just stoked to be in the big leagues — they could play on a sandlot — they don’t care. They’re just happy to be in the big leagues. So that was huge. And that created all those walkoffs. Fourteen walkoffs.”

The Oakland Athletics are in Boston today through Wednesday to play a three-game series against the Red Sox. They are indeed one of the most interesting teams in baseball. Their success last year, which was based on youthful talent, energy, good pitching, strong defense and a home-run hitting lineup, has carried into this year. They entered yesterday leading the AL West.

Meanwhile, one of the most interesting players on the Boston Red Sox is Gomes, who was instrumental in building a winning attitude in Oakland last year.

Winning undoubtedly does follow the 32-year-old. He has been on first-place teams in Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Oakland within the past five years. And there is reason for that.

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