Where would this Yankees team be without Curtis Granderson? He leads the team in runs, home runs, RBI and slugging percentage. And despite a team-high 58 strikeouts, he has the third-best on-base percentage. On a team full of home run hitters, the guy who claims he’s not one, has been the Yankees most productive hitter.
“I never go in the mindset thinking I’ve got to get (a home run),” Granderson said. “Even that at-bat today, I was just thinking I’ve got to get a hit here. … “Any time I try to do it, I think I’ve hit myself in the foot a couple of times, I’ve hit (Mick Kelleher) at first base. I just can’t do it, so I’ve got to let it happen.”
That at-bat today was in the second inning when rookie Casey Crosby’s control was long gone. There were two outs, the bases were loaded and the game was tied. It was exactly the kind of at-bat for which the Yankees have been generating the wrong kind of attention this season.
Granderon hit a grand slam in that at-bat, snapping a Yankees 0-for-16 streak with the bases loaded.
“We seem to get guys on, but we have a lot of at-bats with two outs, which makes it difficult, and we weren’t able to get a lot of guys to come across thus far,” Granderson said. “I think everyone just knows. Each guy has been up in a situation where they’ve had a chance to do some damage and haven’t the way they wanted to. I think everybody is thinking about it and realizing we have to get some guys on, especially with the stadiums (showing) the LOB stat in a lot of them, you tend to see that number go up and go up and go up. No matter what, we’ve just got to continue to put it on.”
Of the Yankees nine runs, eight were scored with two outs tonight. Alex Rodriguez’s two-out, two-run home run in the ninth inning created the kind of breathing room that felt awfully important after Clay Rapada loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. It was a good win for the offense, and there was no question who had the biggest hit.
“He’s been really important for us,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s been a great player defensively, offensively, the production we get out of him. He plays every day, he’s played every inning so far for us, so he’s extremely important.”
• This was the kind of game that critics hate and believers love about CC Sabathia. He was far from perfect, yet he never let the game get out of control. It could have in the third inning when the Tigers loaded the bases, but Sabathia got a strikeout. It could have in the sixth when the first two batters singled, but Jayson Nix made a nice play in left field and Robinson Cano turned a nifty double play. Sabathia was at 70 pitches after three innings and still got the Yankees through the seventh, retiring 11 of the last 13 hitters he faced. “Once he figured out what he was doing and got back in the right arm slot, he was good from there,” Chris Stewart said. “It just shows how much of a gamer he is.”
• It was fastball command that hurt Sabathia early on. His arm slot was off which led to unexpected and unwanted movement. At no point, Sabathia said, did he think his struggles were beyond repair. “You always feel pretty good,” he said. “I was all over the place, but was able to get in the dugout, talk to Stew and make a few adjustments. The four-seam command got better.”
• This was Sabathia’s first win at Comerica Park as a Yankee.
• Girardi on the Cano double play in the sixth: “That was probably the point that saved us during the game.”
• Stewart had an RBI single, Nix had a double and scored two runs. “It helps because you can give guys a little bit of a rest and they do their job,” Girardi said. “It’s important because you know it’s a long season, you’re going to need a ton of players to be productive, and it really helps.”
• Very cool stat from Elias: Crosby became the ninth pitcher to allow his first major league hit to Derek Jeter. Same thing happened to Wei-Yin Chen earlier this season. First time Chen ever faced a big league hitter, Jeter went deep.
• With the bases loaded in the second, Granderson said he was expecting fastball, but not because Crosby had walked so many guys that inning. “He came after me the first time with fastballs and I wasn’t able to catch up to it,” Granderson said. “So I figured they’d probably stay with it.”
• Odd way for Rafael Soriano to get his seventh save of the season. Brought in with one out, the bases loaded and a five-run lead — Soriano had the tying run on deck, which made it a save situation, but got a double play to end the game.
• Cole Garner has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list. To replace him on the roster, Corban Joseph has been called up from Trenton. That begs the question, exactly how many utility types can fit on one roster?
• Sweeny Murti spoke to Joe Torre who said no fines were given after the Russell Martin/Laz Diaz situation.
Associated Press photos