04/04/07 7:21 PM ET
Granderson ends day in grand fashion
Center fielder blasts grand slam, finishes with five RBIs vs. Jays
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
It dampened one kid's day, but it made Wednesday all the sweeter for Granderson.
"I remember a kid asked me a question at a school visit [over the winter]," Granderson said. "'How many grand slams have you hit?' I said, 'None,' and he got disappointed, like, 'Aw, you're not that good.' So I said, 'Hopefully I'll get one.'"
Granderson still remembers his first home run. He was eight or nine years old, he said, and it was a solo shot. He only had 11 bases-loaded at-bats in his Major League career entering Wednesday, so he hadn't had a lot of chances. He had a bases-clearing triple and two singles, but no grand slam.
The timing for his first couldn't have been much better. Though it wasn't in his hometown of Chicago, it was at Comerica Park with his parents in town. They had driven over to see him receive his American League championship ring, and they watched him go 2-for-5 with a career-high-tying five RBIs in the process.
He walked and scored to lead off the third inning against Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett before the string of Tigers reaching base brought him up again with two outs in the inning against Shaun Marcum. He reached for a pitch at his knees and drove it on a line towards the right-field power alley.
The ball bounced off a railing above the wall, just above the 365-foot marker, and caromed back into play. Granderson was approaching third base at full speed when he noticed the home-run signal from first-base umpire Alfonso Marquez, allowing him to trot home.
"I thought it was an extra-base hit," Granderson said. "I turned and looked to see where the ball was. I hear [third-base coach Gene Lamont] say something and then I see the first-base ump [signaling] with his fingers. But yet [Blue Jays second baseman] Aaron Hill is coming after me to make a play on me because I'm off the base, so I'm still not sure."
He was off and running again with his next hit in the seventh, this time for good reason. After Brandon Inge led off the seventh with a walk, Granderson hit a Victor Zambrano pitch to right for an RBI triple, matching his RBI mark from last June 26 against Cleveland.
Granderson has hit for the cycle through two games this season, and he has either scored or driven in five of Detroit's 13 runs. And he no longer has to disappoint schoolchildren, though he might be disappointed himself if he can't find the grand-slam ball.
"It did go back on the field, right? I've got to find it," he said. "I'm going to be on a hunt."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.