The final score of the game last night was 10-1, Yankees over the Tigers. If you want to get technical about it, the Yankees’ nine-run margin of victory could have withstood either of the catches being missed by centerfielder Curtis Granderson instead. But for momentum swings, you’ll never see two finer rally-killing plays than were made at Comerica Park last night.
In the first inning, the Yankees didn’t score and the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs. A long fly to center field–which, trust me when I tell you this, has an enormous expanse of grass to cover in the outfield, particularly in centerfield–could have brought home three runs if Granderson had not hauled it in with a leaping catch. And I mean a leaping, up in the air, glove to the sky, catch it or you’ll fall to the ground in an awkward heap catch. The Tigers would have loved an early three-run lead to work with, in an elimination game in front of the home crowd. But it was not to be.
Again, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Granderson drove a stake through the heart of the team that once paid him, in the park that he once called home. This time, he went to his right and dove. Laid out, as the term goes. He made the catch, saved two more runs, and preserved the Yankees’ lead, so that when they plated six runs in the eighth inning, it was all over.
I hate the Yankees. Always have, and always will. Anytime a team wins repeatedly, their own fans love it, but every other team’s fans hate them for their success. But, in a game that is typically over-stocked with offensive highlights, Granderson reminded us all of why defense is so very important. I have to tip my hat to that.