Mired in a 1-for-16 slump, Granderson found something that has generally eluded him for the first 14 games of the season. Outfield grass. Then he spent the rest of the night finding it again and again.
"That's just how baseball happens to be sometimes," said Granderson, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in New York's 7-1 win over Atlanta on Tuesday. "You want to put yourself in a position to do as much damage to the baseball as possible. The rest is out of your control."
Granderson would know. Despite a revamped approach that has him drawing walks, hitting the ball to the opposite field and avoiding strikeouts, Granderson entered play Tuesday hitting just .146 and with two fewer RBIs than Bartolo Colon.
By the end of the night he boosted that average 50 points and leapfrogged Colon by two RBIs, courtesy of two run-scoring singles that broke the game open and an RBI double that put it away.
Granderson smoked both singles into right field. He didn't hit the double nearly as hard, instead dropping it down the left-field line for a perfectly placed hit. Manager Terry Collins said it could mean his hard-luck tide is changing.
"He needed a night like this," Collins said.
Collins has defended Granderson's position in the leadoff spot and kept the veteran there, mainly because of his league lead in walks, but also because Granderson was showing good at-bats. He was hitting the ball hard. His strikeout rate is down considerably from a year ago.
First-year hitting coach Kevin Long, who coached Granderson when both were members of the Yankees, kept Granderson confident even as the slump worsened.
"Your approach is good, your plan is good," Long said.
Tuesday it finally came together.
"It's one thing when you're not getting the swings that you want or you're chasing balls that you don't want to go after," Granderson said. "But if you're hitting balls hard that's the one thing you can really do."
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.