Baby boomers

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeChicago CubsPiracyTennisSports

After losing a heartbreaker in the opener of a doubleheader with Pittsburgh on Friday, the Cubs thought they'd hit a low point in the 2004 season.

Rob Mackowiak's two-out grand slam off Joe Borowski capped a five-run ninth inning that gave the Pirates a stunning 9-5 victory, putting everyone in the Cubs' clubhouse on edge before the nightcap.

But Mackowiak wasn't done.

The Oak Lawn native cranked a two-run shot off LaTroy Hawkins in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2, tying the game at 4-4 and sending it into extra innings. Craig Wilson ended it with a solo homer off Francis Beltran leading off the 10th, giving the Pirates a 5-4 win and a doubleheader sweep.

Mackowiak's day began with his wife delivering their first child, a son they named Garrett.

"It was an amazing day," Mackowiak said after his walk-off slam in Game 1. "I wasn't doing too hot early, but not too much was going to ruin my day. This tops it off right there."

Mackowiak spoke too soon. He didn't start the second game, but entered in a double-switch in the seventh inning and delivered more dramatics. The blown save by Hawkins spoiled another outstanding effort by replacement starter Glendon Rusch, who threw 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball.

Game 1 starter Matt Clement, who fell apart in a wild fifth inning in the opener, tied a major-league record with three hit batters in one inning. He said there was no sense of panic in the team, despite its losing streak (four games after Game 2) and the loss of several key players to injuries.

"There's a core group of guys in our clubhouse who have been here since Day 1," Clement said. "It's not like we're calling up guys with no experience and are throwing them into the lineup. This team is resilient, like our manager is.

"It's not like when we lose a game we sit there and say, 'Wow, if we had Sammy and whoever else, this wouldn't have happened. That's not an option."

Mackowiak's slam on the day his son was born ended a crazy game in which the Cubs erased a 4-1 deficit in the seventh on Michael Barrett's pinch-hit grand slam off reliever Mike Johnston. The Cubs' bullpen did the job until the ninth, when Borowski replaced Hawkins to start the inning.

Tike Redman started it with a triple over the head of center fielder Corey Patterson, who had been playing shallow against the slap-hitter.

"He was a bit shallow in that situation," Baker said. "The ball was carrying better than it normally does. I didn't think Michael Barrett's ball was going to get out of here either. The ball was carrying today better than we'd seen it. [Patterson] plays a heck of a center field. We hadn't seen Redman hit a ball that hard, ever."

Abraham Nunez's bloop single over a pulled-in infield tied the game 5-5, leaving Borowski with his first blown save in his last 23 opportunities dating to last August. Jason Kendall followed with a single off the glove of new shortstop Rey Ordonez, putting the winning run on third.

Patterson kept the Cubs alive with a diving catch of a sinking liner off the bat of Jack Wilson, and Nunez could have scored from third easily had he tagged up. But Patterson quickly righted himself and threw the ball home, giving Borowski another chance.

After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Borowski struck out Craig Wilson for the second out. But he fell behind Mackowiak 2-1, and watched him launch a no-doubt-about it grand slam.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading