DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson will never admit he's a home run hitter.
His home run totals, however, say different.
Granderson hit his 17th of the season, a second-inning grand slam to lead the Yankees to a 9-4 victory over the Tigers before a sellout crowd of 41,831 at Comerica Park on Friday night.
"There may be just two guys on this team with the ability to go up there with the mindset that hey I'm going to go up there and do this (hit a home run),'' said Granderson, who went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. "Alex (Rodriguez) being one of them and maybe (Mark) Teixeira the other one. Anytime I try to do it, I think I hit myself in the foot a couple of times.''
Not this time. With the score tied at 1-1 and the bases loaded and two outs, Granderson welcomed rookie lefty Casey Crosby -- making his MLB debut -- to the majors. On a 1-1 pitch, Granderson hit a grand slam into the right-field stands, giving the Yankees a 5-1 advantage. They never looked back.
"He came after me in the first at-bats with fastballs and I wasn't able to catch up to it,'' said Granderson, who was called out on strikes in his first at-bat. "So I figured they'd probably stay with it.
"I just wanted to be ready to hit. And if he did do it, I didn't want to miss it like the first time.''
Granderson hasn't missed many the last two seasons. His 58 homers since the start of the 2011 season are the most in the majors. Plus, he has the most HRs vs. left-handers in the span (22).
"He's come a long, long way,'' manager Joe Girardi said about Grandy's growth. "He's a guy you don't move against left-handers, you leave him where he's at. And you know you're going to get production.''
Grandy's grand slam ended an 0-for-16 hitless streak by the Yankees with the base loaded.
Granderson's turnaround has been remarkable. Before coming to the Yankees from the Tigers in a trade after the 2009 season, many wondered if Granderson could hit lefties consistently in order to stay in the lineup as an everyday hitter.
But in August 2010, batting coach Kevin Long helped Granderson with some adjustments. He's been a different hitter vs. southpaws since then.
"As far as hitting lefties, he stays on the ball,'' CC Sabathia said about Granderson. "He covers pretty much everything in the strike zone. That's the biggest adjustment he's made.''