McCutchen drives in eight runs
By Alan Saunders
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Andrew McCutchen knew it as soon as the ball left his bat.
The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder had sent a ball 412 feet into the center field seats, clearing the wall for his first career grand slam as part of an eight-RBI game in his team’s 10-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
McCutchen raised his arms in celebration, as if to suggest a burden had been lifted from his shoulders.
The five-time All Star and 2013 National League MVP had 5,016 major-league at-bats coming into the game and 201 home runs, but had never hit one with the bases load until he connected with Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman’s 2-1 offering in the second inning.
McCutchen had been open about the grand slam remaining an item on his career bucket list this season, and he said it was definitely on his mind as he stepped into the batter’s box with three men on base.
“He’s been very transparent about the fact that it’s on his bucket list,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s been on his to-do list. And there’s been a good quantity of at-bats. He’s driven in runs, hadn’t been able to hit a grand slam. He was able to wipe that off the list tonight. His facial expression on the trip around the bases said it all.”
That wasn’t the end of McCutchen’s big night. In his first at-bat, McCutchen had hit an RBI double and scored. He also singled and scored in the fifth. In the seventh inning, he came up needing a triple for the cycle. Instead, he hit a three-run home run to give him eight RBIs, one off the franchise record and the most by a Pirate since Jason Bay in 2004.
McCutchen was feted by the PNC Park faithful with curtain calls after each of his home runs and was removed from the game to an ovation in the top of the ninth inning.
“You cherish all the good days and the bad ones,” McCutchen said. “You’ll have more bad ones than good ones, that’s for sure. When you have a good one, it’s something special.”
McCutchen has spent nine seasons in Pittsburgh, but faces an uncertain future. He was the subject of trade rumors last offseason. The club holds an option for his services for 2018.
“I thought it was appropriate at the time, in front of the hometown crowd, last homestand,” Hurdle said. “It’s a special night. The fans were very appreciative. He’s done a lot of wonderful things here on the North Shore. Tonight was a very, very special night for him.”
Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco drove in runs as the Pirates rallied for six runs in four innings against Gausman (11-11).
“I didn’t give up too many hard-hit balls except for the two that McCutchen hit,” Gausman said. “That was the difference, obviously. Kind of frustrating. I feel like I’ve been kind of getting in a groove lately.”
Pirates starter Trevor Williams (7-9) worked six three-hit innings and allowed just one run. He struck out six, giving him 116 on the season, the most by a Pirates rookie since Paul Maholm in 2006.
Rookie Steven Brault pitched the final three innings for his first career save.
Tonight: Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:05 p.m.
Pitching matchup: Orioles RHP Gabriel Ynoa (2-2) vs. Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (7-11)
TV: AT&T SportsNet