That swing change that Kevin Long devised for Curtis Granderson last August in Texas continues to pay large dividends. Granderson cracked the tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning of this 5-2 victory over the Blue Jays.
This was his eighth homer of the season. Granderson didn’t hit his eighth homer last season until July 25.
“The adjustments we made weren’t too difficult to go ahead and repeat,” Granderson said. “As far as the results, that’s all baseball. But the things we ended up doing were very minimal, very easy to remember.”
Long didn’t think they were minimal. The results certainly haven’t been. Since Aug. 14, 2010, Granderson owns the third-most homers in the majors with 22, trailing only the Jays’ Jose Bautista (27) and the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (23).
“He’s a very bright young man,” Long said. “He was able to take the information that was given to him. In layman’s terms, it was just simpler and more compact and a more explosive swing. We squared him up a little bit. He lessened his load. He had big load before.”
Granderson is now headed back to play at Detroit Monday night for the first time since he was traded from the Tigers. He wonders what the reception is going to be like.
“Now we’re a year removed,” he said. “I don’t know if the people have forgotten. It’s going to be interesting to see how it is.”
Ivan Nova struggled with his fastball early on, but he went more to his curve and got all five strikeouts with it. He also stranded six. This was his second straight quality start that lasted into the seventh.
“Last start, I started using it more,” Nova said of the curve. “A day like today when I didn’t have really good command of the fastball, my curve was there.”
Before Nova, Al Leiter was the last rookie pitcher to start five of the Yankees’ first 25 games, and that was in 1988.
Robby Cano’s bruised left hand happened on a Nova pickoff throw to second in the sixth. Cano didn’t come out of the game until it was his turn to hit in the eighth.
Joe Girardi said Cano was day to day. Long said the injury was in the palm area, and that he expected Cano would be able to play Monday night.
“He’ll get some ice and some treatment, and I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Long said.
Jorge Posada tied Joe DiMaggio for 10th on the Yankees’ all-time list of games played with 1,737.
Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer in the first. Six of his seven homers have come at home and all six have come in the first three innings. Teixiera is batting .474 with three doubles, three homers and six RBI in the first inning so far this season.
With two more homers, the Yankees extended their major-league lead to 45 and multi-homer-game lead to 15. They have scored 80 of their 139 runs via homers. The 57.6 percentage also tops the majors.
Mariano Rivera now has 10 saves, the earliest that has ever happened for him.
Yankees pitching has been stingy lately, allowing three runs or less eight times in the last 10 games. The starters have a 2.44 ERA over the last 13.
Check back in Monday at 9 a.m. when I’ll have Long’s thoughts on how things are going for Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner.