Jolly Roger! Cutch's first slam part of career day

September 27th, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- checked a big item off his baseball bucket list Tuesday at PNC Park.

Batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, McCutchen crushed a fastball from the Orioles' into the center-field seats for his first career grand slam on the way to a 10-1 win. He had been waiting nearly nine full years for that moment, and everybody -- in the dugout, in the stands, watching on TV -- knew it as he flashed his signature smile while rounding the bases.

"You can't help but think about it. Y'all would be crazy if you think I'm not thinking about it when I come up to bat," McCutchen said. "It was definitely on my mind when I came up there."

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

McCutchen raised both arms as he trotted toward first base and watched his 104.6-mph line drive soar 412 feet, as projected by Statcast™, into the stands. It was, perhaps, a fitting number for the Pirates' franchise player: 412 is the area code for Pittsburgh.

As he stepped on home plate, tipping his helmet as he does after every homer, McCutchen high-fived and as he said, "Finally." After 1,342 games and 5,812 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, McCutchen had his grand slam.

"The entire club was really excited for him. He's been very transparent with the fact that it's been on his bucket list, been on his to-do list," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was able to wipe that off the list tonight. His facial expression on the trip around the bases said it all."

And it was only the beginning for McCutchen, who finished the night 4-for-4 with another homer and a career-high eight RBIs.

McCutchen has made no secret about his desire to cross a grand slam off his "to-do" list. He has accomplished so much in his career, but that homer with the bases loaded eluded him until Tuesday night. He entered the night hitting .260 with the bases full, but he only had four extra-base hits in 97 plate appearances in those situations.

McCutchen said his first-inning RBI double eased the pressure he felt as he stepped in to face Gausman again. As he put it, "Just tried to do the same thing I did in my first at-bat."

"I think he puts a little extra pressure on himself when the bases are loaded, just for that reason," Frazier said. "Now that he got one, I think his numbers will probably shoot up. Impressive night for him."

McCutchen's teammates appreciated the importance of the moment for McCutchen. Before McCutchen could step into the dugout, wrapped his arms around the center fielder. The crowd at PNC Park got in on the act, too, cheering until McCutchen emerged from the dugout for a curtain call.

"It's a great accomplishment for him, man. I know he's been searching for it for however-many homers," starter said. "It was awesome. It wasn't a cheapo. It was crushed. Everybody in that dugout knew it was crushed, and we couldn't be happier."

McCutchen became the sixth player to hit his first grand slam with 200 or more career homers already under his belt. Now that that's out of the way, what's left on his baseball bucket list?

"I ain't robbed a homer yet. Still haven't done that. One day," McCutchen said. "And a World Series, that'd be great."