Granderson gave up a chance to tie Cabrera in HR race (but he didn't know)

Granderson finishes with 43 home runs on the season, one shy of Miguel Cabrera. (US Presswire)

NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson didn't know.

Seriously, he didn't know.

He didn't know he was just one home run behind Miguel Cabrera, his friend and one-time Tigers teammate. He asked Yankees manager Joe Girardi to pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning, not out of any respect for Cabrera, but simply because he wanted rookie Melky Mesa to get an at-bat in the Yankees' blowout, division-clinching 14-2 win over the Red Sox.

"It's funny, because [Wednesday afternoon] I had pre-taped a video to congratulate Miguel [on winning the Triple Crown]," Granderson said.

Even if Granderson had homered in the eighth inning, which would have given him 44 home runs and a tie for the title, Cabrera still would have been credited with winning a Triple Crown. For Granderson to deny Cabrera the Triple Crown, he would have had to homer in the seventh and then have the Yankees bat around in the eighth to give him a chance to pull ahead (by that time, Cabrera was out of the Tigers' game in Kansas City).

It wasn't until Granderson was already out of the game that CC Sabathia asked him about giving up the chance to tie Cabrera.

"He didn't know," Sabathia said.

What would Granderson have done if he had known?

"What would have happened?" he wondered aloud. "How would it have been perceived? That would have been a weird moment for me."

Granderson, who continues to insist that he's not a home run hitter, ended the season with a career-high 43.

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