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Granderson hits three homers in 7-6 victory

Curtis Granderson hits a fourth inning home run,

Curtis Granderson hits a fourth inning home run, his third of the game, against the Minnesota Twins. (April 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

As Busta Rhymes' '90s rap tune "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" blared over the Yankee Stadium sound system, signaling that the man of the night was headed to the batter's box for the fifth time, the crowd rose.

Curtis Granderson strode to the plate in the eighth inning looking to make a little history, trying to become only the second player in franchise history to hit four homers in a game. But he insists he wasn't thinking about going deep again.

"No, not at all," Granderson said Thursday night after the Yankees' 7-6 win over the Twins. "It never crossed my mind. Whenever I do, nothing ever tends to be good. I've tried it a couple of times. I think I've fouled a ball off my foot, I've hit [coach Mick] Kelleher at first base. It never ends up working well. I don't have that ability to do it, like some guys I know can.

"Even when I was younger, I was like, 'OK, I want to do it.' It never ended up working out."

Granderson wound up tapping a slow roller between the mound and first base and beat it out to the delight of a crowd that cheered as if he had hit yet another homer. Granderson had to settle for an infield single and a 5-for-5 night, tying his career high for hits. But all anyone is going to remember from this night is his three home runs.

"It was quite a performance," manager Joe Girardi said. "What he did today was a special day, and they don't happen very often. He should cherish it, and it was fun to watch it."

Granderson launched a solo shot in the bottom of the first, hit a tiebreaking two-run blast in the second and slammed another solo homer in the fourth, becoming only the 12th major-leaguer to hit three homers in the first four innings of a game. The lone Yankee to hit four home runs in a game is Lou Gehrig, who did it on June 3, 1932.

Granderson's three-homer game was the first recorded by a Yankee since Alex Rodriguez did it in Kansas City on Aug. 14, 2010. It was the first time anyone has done it at the new Stadium.

Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the first and Derek Jeter added an RBI single in the second, tying Dave Winfield for 18th on the career hits list with 3,110.

"There's been a lot of baseball played, but to do the thing I've done tonight, I've never done," said Granderson, the first Yankee to collect five hits and three homers in a game. "So it's kind of cool. Alex mentioned it before. Definitely a night to remember and definitely I will.

"It just ended up happening that way," he added. "A lot of work went into today before we actually stepped on the field. I'd had some big issues with timing since the season started, so Kevin Long and myself, we were out there just trying to go ahead and get timing and rhythm. I was struggling to get myself in a good position and be able to do things when I want to do it."

Granderson's personal home run derby supported Phil Hughes (1-2), who allowed six runs in 51/3 innings. The four runs he surrendered in the top of the first were unearned because of Eduardo Nuñez's throwing error.

Boone Logan, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera recorded the final 11 outs as the Yankees earned a split of the four-game series.

Granderson's second-inning homer put the Yankees ahead 6-4, and he got a rise out of the announced crowd of 40,327 with one out in the fourth, crushing a line drive into the rightfield stands. That gave the Yankees a 7-4 lead and made his final two at-bats must-see TV.

"I was in here watching," Hughes said. "It was exciting. Obviously, we were all hoping he would do it. Obviously, it didn't work out that way, but it was fun to watch for sure."

Fun the Yankees hope they'll have more of this weekend at Fenway Park. "The good thing is it just gets us ready to go," Granderson said, "knowing that we can score runs, knowing that our bullpen is pitching extremely well, that our starting pitching is going to be there for us . . . There's definitely no quit in this team. You saw this whole series, we get down a little bit, but we continue to fight back and try to continue to put some runs up. And you definitely are going to have to do that in Boston."

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