To make certain the Pirates got his message, Moran homered again in the eighth, giving him six RBI on the day.
The soft-spoken, heavily-bearded Moran downplayed the revenge factor and didn’t even crack a smile during his post-game on-the-field interview with Jim Day of Bally Sports Ohio.
“It felt good because I haven’t been swinging it well, so just to barrel up some balls felt great,” he said.
Of an extra high by doing it against the Pirates, Moran said, “Not really. I was just trying to square up the baseball. Any time you hit a grand slam if feels good, obviously. Nothing against that team. I’m still close to most of those guys.”
And his fifth career grand slam failed to ignite a smile or any effusive words.
“I don’t know, I just try to hit a fly ball, I guess,” he said. “If I had a secret, I’d try to put it on every situation. I was looking for a fastball, sitting fastball, and I got it.”
It was a bizarre game in its entirety as the Reds recorded their first come-from-behind win this season. And they were 0-23 when trailing in the sixth inning.
Reds starter Tyler Mahle gave up only one hit over five innings, but it was a two-run home run by Pittsburgh catcher Michael Perez that followed a walk. Perez was taking his first at bat after as call-up from Triple-A Saturday.
Mahle’s problem was the same problem he always has … too many pitches. He went to 3-and-2 counts on eight batters and had to leave after five innings with 106 pitches.
Meanwhile, the Reds were facing Zach Thompson, who was 0-3 with a 10.30 earned run average for his starts this season.
But the Reds couldn’t solve him, only two singles in five innings.
The Pirates replaced him in the sixth with left-hander Dillon Peters, who brought an impeccable work sheet to the mound, asked to protect the 2-0 Pittsburgh lead.
He was 3-0 with a 0.00 earned run average — no runs and 13 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.
Brandon Drury began the Reds’ sixth with a bloop single to right over the first baseman’s head. Peters than took a short walk on the wild side. He walked three straight batters, including pinch-hitter Tommy Pham, to force in a run.
That brought up Moran and he unloaded the fifth grand slam of his career, the first four as a member of the Pirates, and his first home run as a member of the Reds.
Moran spent the previous four seasons with the Pirates, but his option was not picked up after last season and the Reds signed him as a free agent on March 17.
Hembree was 2-7 with a 6.38 earned run average in 45 relief appearances for the Reds last season. The Pirates signed him as a free agent two days before the Reds signed Moran.
Art Warren followed Mahle and struck out the side in the sixth and gave up a two-out single in the seventh to Jack Suwinski.
Dauri Moreta pitched the eighth and for the second straight day gave up a home run to Bryan Reynolds, cutting the Reds margin to 5-3.
Then Moran plunged the sword into the Pirates’ hearts with his second home run, a two-run rip in the eighth to lift the Reds to a 7-3 lead.