He got to meet his childhood hero, Ken Griffey Jr.Then he got to beat him.Granderson's tying homer with two outs in the ninth helped the
Detroit Tigers overcome Griffey's grand slam and beat Cincinnati
7-6 in 10 innings on a throwing error by Reds shortstop Felipe
Lopez."I introduced myself to him before the game and we talked for a
few minutes, just like two normal people," a star-struck
Granderson said. "It's great to beat his team, but I know he's
still a long way ahead of me. I just hope my career comes close to
his."The Tigers, who have won eight of nine, trailed 6-5 with two
outs in the ninth, but Granderson brought the sellout crowd of
43,128 to its feet with his seventh homer."I'm learning how loud Tigers fans can be," Granderson said.
"They aren't crazy like Chicago fans or New York fans, but they
are loud."The homer came off Reds closer David Weathers, who has blown
three straight save chances."It stinks," he said. "I can't even say it was a mistake. I
threw a fastball away and the guy hit it. It irritates you."After Fernando Rodney (2-1) pitched a perfect 10th, Weathers
(1-2) hit Carlos Guillen with a pitch with one out in the bottom
half.On a 3-1 count to Chris Shelton, Guillen stole second as Shelton
swung and missed at what looked like ball four."You always try to do all the little things you can to win, and
that includes running on that play," Leyland said. "Shelton swung
at a bad pitch, and I think Guillen was out, but they dropped the
throw."Shelton walked on the next pitch, but Dmitri Young hit into a
force at second, leaving runners on the corners for Craig Monroe.Monroe hit a routine grounder into the hole at shortstop, but
Lopez double-pumped before making a hurried throw that skipped past
Rich Aurilia at first base. Guillen scored and was mobbed by his
teammates at the plate."I was in an awkward position to get the ball out," Lopez
said. "It was a tough play."The Reds rallied for five runs in the seventh to erase a 5-1
deficit. With two outs and Cincinnati down 5-2, Griffey hit rookie
Joel Zumaya's 100 mph fastball deep into the right-field stands for
his 15th career slam."I wanted to go right after him," Zumaya said. "I've looked
up to him for most of my life. I remember watching him when I was
in Little League."Griffey, who stayed in the training room after the game, has now
homered in 42 parks, matching Sammy Sosa for second most -- one
behind Fred McGriff's record."Joel's not the first guy he's done that to," Leyland said.
"He's a Hall of Famer who swells up in situations like that."Adam Dunn led off the seventh with a homer against Mike Maroth,
and Brandon Phillips singled with one out. That brought the
hard-throwing Zumaya out of the bullpen. He allowed a single to
pinch-hitter Javier Valentin, then struck out Ryan Freel before
Lopez walked on a 3-2 pitch to bring Griffey to the plate."We came back and got a big homer from Junior to put us
ahead," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "When you battle back
like that, that's tough to lose."Eric Milton started for the Reds, allowing five runs and 10 hits
in five innings.Maroth gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings and matched a season
high with five strikeouts.Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by Magglio
Ordonez and Shelton, then got two more in the third after Phillips
hit a solo homer in the top half.Ivan Rodriguez led off with a double, Ordonez walked and Guillen
loaded the bases with a bloop single.Shelton made it 3-1 with a single to right and, after Young
grounded into a force at the plate, Monroe's single gave the Tigers
a three-run lead.Ordonez homered in the fourth to make it 5-1, a lead that looked
safe until Cincinnati's big seventh inning.
Griffey has not homered in St. Louis' new Busch Stadium.
His 15th grand slam moved him into sole possession of 11th on the
career list, one ahead of Gil Hodges, Mark McGwire and Mike Piazza.
... The Reds have three grand slams in 43 games this season. ...
Milton was activated from the disabled list before the game, and
Dave Williams was designated for assignment. Milton had been out
since April 24 after knee surgery. ... The Tigers had won seven
straight, their longest winning streak in 13 years, before losing
Friday's series opener. ... Zumaya was the 344th pitcher to allow a
homer to Griffey, but the first whose last name starts with a Z.
... It was the fourth-biggest crowd in Comerica Park history.