ST. PETERSBURG — Yankees manager Joe Girardi summed up centerfielder Curtis Granderson's night Wednesday perfectly:
"It started off great," he said. "And ended up as an 'ouch.' "
Granderson delivered the biggest hit of a 4-0 Yankees win in the top of the first, ripping a two-run homer off Rays left-hander David Price. But in making the game's biggest catch, Granderson ran into the centerfield wall to rob Evan Longoria of extra bases in the fifth. Granderson later fouled a pitch off his right calf and got hit by a pitch in the eighth.
"He's a little beat up," Girardi said.
But Granderson played a key role in beating the Rays, bouncing back nicely from Tuesday, when his miscue, losing the ball in Tropicana Field's roof, helped spark Tampa Bay's winning rally.
Granderson's homer, his 27th of the season (second in the AL), put the Yankees up for good. It was just the fourth career homer Price has allowed in 423 at-bats against left-handed hitters (Granderson has two of them in 24 at-bats vs. Price).
"It's just a constant battle," Granderson said. "He's one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game."
Granderson's 10 homers off lefties this season is the most in the majors by any hitter.
"With the season he is having, he's locked in," Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. "You can be throwing left-handed, right-handed … you can be throwing both-handed right now, and I feel like he'd be right on it."
Granderson was right on Longoria's long fly ball in the fifth, which came with two outs, runners on second and third, and the Rays trailing 2-0. Granderson said he saw the ball all the way and thought he had a shot.
Granderson said the Trop's centerfield walls, which have a lot of give, saved him some pain, as he only had a scrape on his arm. "It probably looked a lot worse than it actually was," he said.
The same goes for the Price pitch that hit Granderson between the shoulder blades. Price told him it wasn't intentional.
"Once I got up and started going, it was just a little bit of the wind knocked out of me," Granderson said. "But after that, I was all right."