And wouldn’t you know it, there waiting for him at the plate in Pittsburgh was his younger brother, Pirates third baseman Colin Moran, who obliged him by taking a called third strike on a full-count slider (he said afterward that he was expecting a fastball).
“It’s incredible,” Brian told reporters after the game. “I think the last three days have been some of the most exciting, moving days that I’ve experienced. I don’t think you could dream up a cooler situation. I’m so excited I got to share it with my family. I got to get out on a big league mound.”
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Moran brothers are the first siblings in MLB history to face each other in a pitcher-batter scenario when one of the brothers is making his big league debut.
Younger by almost exactly four years, Colin Moran’s road to the majors was much shorter: The Marlins chose him with the sixth pick of the 2013 amateur draft and he made his MLB debut for the Astros in 2016 before a January 2018 trade sent him to the Pirates.
“I was a little more nervous than I thought I’d be when I saw him step in the box,” Brian said of their fourth-inning encounter. “I fell behind in the count, and then once I got to 3-2, I felt like if I could drop a slider in, I felt I could get him. It was also risky, because if I missed with it, I would have looked like I didn’t want any part of him. It was a high-risk, high-reward situation.”
Brian followed up his sibling strikeout by hitting Josh Bell, but he got Melky Cabrera to fly out to right to end the inning. Miami responded by scoring six runs over the next two innings to turn a 5-2 deficit into an eventual 10-7 win, and Brian was credited with the victory after his scoreless fourth inning.
“There’s certain moments, I feel like, that happen up here that you just have to take a step back and really appreciate how hard it is to get there and really enjoy the moment,” Colin said.
Said Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle: “I felt bad for the dad. And happy. It’s a special moment. It really is a very special moment. The parents have to be so proud, so pleased.”
The Morans hail from an almost absurdly athletic family. Uncle B.J. Surhoff played 19 MLB seasons and was an all-star in 1999 for the Orioles (he’s in that franchise’s Hall of Fame), and his son, Austin, was an NCAA-champion swimmer at the University of Texas. Another uncle, Rich Surhoff, made nine appearances as a relief pitcher for the Rangers and Phillies in 1985. Grandfather Dick Surhoff played two seasons in the NBA for the Knicks and Hawks (then located in Milwaukee) and later became a legendary fast-pitch softball pitcher.
Their father, Bill, is a plumber who would throw batting practice to his sons at a park near their home in Westchester County, N.Y.
“It’s incredible. It’s a very exciting moment in time. Very exciting,” he said after watching his sons square off. “Never thought something like this would ever happen, that’s for sure.”