Rob Mackowiak is enjoying what is probably the best weekend of his life.
Mackowiak hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and a two-run double for a career-high five RBIs Saturday, leading the Pirates to a 10-7 victory.
When the Pittsburgh fans cheered for a curtain call, Mackowiak refused to believe it was for him.
“That’s one of those things that doesn’t happen to you, it happens to somebody else,” he said of the ovation.
On Friday, after Mackowiak’s wife gave birth to their first child, he hit a grand slam to win the first game of a doubleheader and then hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning of the second game to send it to extra innings.
“He has just been tremendous,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s certainly swinging the bat extremely well. He believes in his ability and doesn’t panic at the plate. The game seems to have slowed down for him.”
Pittsburgh had 16 hits Saturday and moved above .500 this late in a season for the first time since Aug. 15, 1999 when they were 59-58.
Mackowiak has seven homers in his last 13 games.
“We’re not pitching him right or he’s just hot right now,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “What’s he have, 11 RBIs in three swings of the bat or something?”
Mackowiak said he cannot even explain what this weekend has been like for him.
“It’s just excitement,” Mackowiak said. “I want very much to come through for the guys on the team and the last two days have just been tremendous.”
The Cubs have lost five straight, the first time that’s happened since Sept. 22-27, 2002. They will complete their six-game road trip Sunday.
“It’s been a tough road trip, really tough road trip,” Baker said. “Things just aren’t going right right now. It seems like it’s been a month since we’ve been able to go out there and shake hands after a win. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you haven’t done it, I know I’m really looking forward to it.”