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Second straight huge day for Mackowiak

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Rob Mackowiak refused to believe the curtain
call was for him.

Mackowiak hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and a two-run double
for a career-high five RBI, and the Pirates won their third
straight game over the struggling Chicago Cubs 10-7 Saturday night.

"That's one of those things that doesn't happen to you, it
happens to somebody else," he said of the ovation.

Not over the last two nights.

On Friday, Mackowiak became a father for the first time, hit a
grand slam to win the first game of a doubleheader and hit a
two-run homer in the ninth inning of the second game to send it to
extras.

"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 and improved to 23-22, moving above .500
this late in a season for the first time since Aug. 15, 1999
(59-58).

Mackowiak's fourth-inning homer helped the Pirates overcome a
5-1 deficit. He has three homers in two days and eight in May,
including seven 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 RBI in three
swings of the bat or something?"

Jason Kendall was 4-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 15
games. He is hitting .388 (26-for-67) over that span.

Pirates starter Josh Fogg (3-4) allowed five runs and seven hits
in six innings. Chicago's Sergio Mitre (2-4) lasted only 3 2-3
innings, giving up six runs and 10 hits.

Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run single and Derrek Lee a two-run
homer in the first, but Jack Wilson had an RBI single in the
second. Todd Walker's RBI double made it 5-1 in the fourth.

Pittsburgh went ahead with five runs in the bottom half on
Wilson's RBI single, Jack Wilson's run-scoring double and
Mackowiak's homer.

Randall Simon's RBI single off Michael Wuertz and Tike Redman's
sacrifice fly made it 8-5 in the sixth, and Mackowiak drove in two
runs with his double.

"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."

Ramirez hit a solo homer in the eighth off John Grabow and an
RBI single in the ninth against Jose Mesa. With the bases loaded,
Todd Hollandsworth grounded into a game-ending double play.

The Cubs have lost five straight, the first time that's happened
since Sept. 22-27, 2002.

"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."

Game notes
The dugouts and bullpens emptied briefly in the bottom of
the second. Mitre hit batters in each of the first two innings.
After Bobby Hill was hit in the second, he left the batter's box,
and flipped his bat over his head, barely missing C Michael
Barrett. On a force play at second base, Hill slid hard into SS
Ramon Martinez and, as the players walked away from each other,
Martinez said something. Hill then walked back toward him. Calm was
quickly restored. ... Fireworks night drew 37,806 in Pittsburgh's
second home sellout this season, the first since opening day.