For a guy who claims he's not a home run hitter, Curtis Granderson sure hits a lot of home runs.
The Yankees center fielder hit two on Sunday night to take over the major-league lead. He now has 38, one more than Toronto's Jose Bautista. He also leads the majors in RBIs (107) and runs scored (121).
"It's incredible. It's incredible what he's done this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "There's been a lot of talk about MVP and that will be settled later but he's been unbelievable for us."
Granderson himself can't believe it. At least, not all of the home runs.
"It's one of those freak things," he said late Sunday night. "The home run guys that can do it, they hit mammoth shots. And mine, they just get over the fence. I'm still not in that Alex [Rodriguez] category, or Big Papi or Adrian Gonzalez category -- [guys] that can just do it at will. At least I think they can."
Most American League pitchers probably think Granderson can, too.
In addition to leading baseball in homers, Granderson also leads the league in longballs off of left-handers (15). He struggled against southpaws for much of last season before turning things around thanks to an early-August hitting tutorial with Yankees coach Kevin Long.
Prior to the tutorial, Granderson was hitting .239 with ten homers and fewer than 40 RBI. He was getting booed mercilessly in the Bronx.
Now, he's hearing his name followed by MVP chants.
"I hear them but I don't really pay much attention to them," said Granderson. "That's just one of those things a lot of people like to talk about. And then right behind them you've got the 'you suck' chant. So you've got both of them."
Granderson probably heard both chants in the top of third when he hit a three-run homer off of left-hander Brian Matusz that pulled the Yankees out of a 2-0 hole. He likely heard them again when he drilled a solo shot to right off of lefty Mark Hendrickson in the seventh.
Granderson finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBI.
"I don't really know what it is. I look ugly on one [at-bat], strike out in the middle at-bat and came back and get a hit. And it happened to be a home run," Granderson said. "It's one of those things that I'm still playing with and [still] trying to figure it all out."
It sure looked like he had it all figured out on Sunday night.