PITTSBURGH -- Colin Moran is not an outwardly emotional person. He is calm, stoic and soft-spoken. So it might be a little surprising to learn that Moran was fighting his nerves on Friday, his first Opening Day, in Detroit. He was the only Pirate without a hit. He saw 17
PITTSBURGH -- Colin Moran is not an outwardly emotional person. He is calm, stoic and soft-spoken. So it might be a little surprising to learn that Moran was fighting his nerves on Friday, his first Opening Day, in Detroit. He was the only Pirate without a hit. He saw 17 pitches in six at-bats, and nine of them came in one trip to the plate.
"I think I got it all out Opening Day," Moran said. "I definitely learned how to control not getting too up or down."
It showed on Monday, the Pirates' home opener and Moran's first chance to make a first impression in front of his new home crowd. The Bucs' new third baseman launched a grand slam into the right-field seats -- and subsequently earned a curtain call -- in the first inning of Pittsburgh's 5-4 win over the Twins at PNC Park.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
After going just 1-for-9 in the Pirates' season-opening sweep of the Tigers, Moran came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning against Twins starter Lance Lynn. Moran worked a full count then swatted a high, 94.8-mph fastball a Statcast-projected 405 feet into the seats above the Clemente Wall.
The home-opener crowd of 30,186 roared as Moran joined historic Pirates company. He is the third Buc to ever hit a grand slam in the team's home opener, according to STATS LLC, joining Ralph Kiner (1949) and Roberto Clemente (1962).
Unsurprisingly, Moran did not seem overcome by the moment.
"Just heard the crowd go crazy," Moran said. "Glad we got four runs. It was exciting."
As for the curtain call? Moran said he didn't know what was going on until someone called him out of the dugout. Jameson Taillon joked that somebody probably had to nudge him out.
"It was cool. It happened really fast," Moran said. "I just went over there. That's the first time I've ever experienced that, obviously. It was exciting. It was special."
Taillon was in the hole to bat, so he watched Moran's blast from the top step of the Pirates' dugout.
"That gave me chills," Taillon said. "I was happy with the way he was received and everything. He's not the most emotional guy, but I think we were all emotional for him."
That was certainly the case for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
"One of those special moments," Hurdle said. "You kind of sit back and watch somebody else do something really fun, really significant on an Opening Day. A new player, a new team. I got goose bumps for him. Don't get those very often anymore, but I got goose bumps.
"To hear our home crowd embrace him like that and ask him to come back out for a [curtain] call, that's never not good. Never not good. Fun."
Moran, 25, was part of the Pirates' return in the offseason trade that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros. After working with Houston hitting coordinator Jeff Albert last offseason, Moran tweaked his approach in an effort to generate more power out of his left-handed swing.
That power didn't necessarily show up in Spring Training games, when Moran went without a homer. It didn't show up on Opening Day in Detroit, when he went 0-for-6. But it showed up in Moran's first game at the ballpark he'll now call home.
"Obviously, [the right-field wall] is a little shorter here than most places, but you just try to hit the ball hard," Moran said. "If it goes over there, that's nice. It's definitely a good ballpark to hit as a lefty."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.