PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Florida manager Jack McKeon was in the
opposing dugout when the Marlins had an ever longer losing streak
in an NL city than they currently do in Pittsburgh.
That's why his advice to the Pirates would be this: Better enjoy
this while it lasts.
Rob Mackowiak hit his second career grand slam and drove in five
runs and the Pirates won their ninth in a row against the Marlins
in Pittsburgh, roughing up Florida starter Brian Moehler in a 9-1
victory Wednesday night.
Florida extended its longest losing streak in an opposing NL
city since dropping nine in a row in Philadelphia in 2000-01. The
club record for consecutive road losses in one city is 11 in
Cincinnati from 1998-2000 -- when McKeon managed the Reds.
"We'd come in just like this and it seemed like we got every
break in the book against the Marlins," McKeon said. "And then it
stopped and the pendulum swung and it was tough."
Jack Wilson went 4-for-4 and scored twice and his aggressive
base running led to the final run against Moehler (2-3), who came
into the game with a 1.97 ERA -- the fourth lowest in the NL --
before giving up five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Pittsburgh's Josh Fogg (4-3) made his most effective start in
nearly a month, limiting the Marlins to one run and five hits in
six innings. He had allowed at least two runs in each of his last
four starts since holding Arizona to one run in seven innings on
"We're playing good baseball right now," Fogg said. "Maybe
when they come here they don't have a lot of confidence, and that's
good for us."
The Pirates began the four-game series with an NL-worst 7-13
record at home, but will go for a sweep Thursday night against
Marlins eight-game winner Dontrelle Willis. The Pirates haven't
lost at home to Florida since an 11-1 decision on Sept. 8, 2002.
"I wish we could bottle this and do it against the rest of the
league," manager Lloyd McClendon said.
And it's not just Pittsburgh that's beating the Marlins --
they've dropped seven of eight to fall a game behind Atlanta in the
NL East. The Braves won in Washington 5-4.
"The last thing we want to do is start pressing or trying to do
too much," Carlos Delgado said. "So far we've played pretty good
baseball. And we know that over six months, there are going to be
times when you're not playing good. The sign of a good team is to
McKeon agreed, saying, "You've just got to bear with it. The
same things that happened to us are going to happen for us before
the year is over."
Mackowiak, who hit .391 in May, had a run-scoring grounder in
the second, then hit his second career grand slam in the seventh,
off Guillermo Mota, to make it 9-1. The Pirates had loaded the
bases without hitting the ball out of the infield on groundball
singles by Jason Bay and Jose Castillo and a Daryle Ward walk.
Mackowiak's other career grand slam was a game-winning shot May
28, 2004, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs, on
the day his wife gave birth to the couple's first child. That same
night, he hit a tying two-run shot in the ninth inning of the
second game, which the Pirates went on to win.
This grand slam wasn't nearly as dramatic, after Matt Lawton and
Tike Redman had given Fogg a 5-1 lead with two-run singles in
consecutive innings against Moehler, who hadn't allowed more than
two runs in any of his 11 previous games this season -- including
"We got some timely hitting, we moved guys over, we did all the
things you have to do to beat teams like this," Mackowiak said.
Humberto Cota and Wilson doubled ahead of Lawton's single in the
fifth, and Mackowiak and Wilson singled and scored on Redman's
pinch-hit single in the sixth. Wilson scored from first base on the
single, failing to stop at third after he saw right fielder Juan
Encarnacion preparing to throw to second rather than the plate.
"Those are the things we need to do to close the gap against
the big-market teams," McClendon said.
Wilson, who spent most of the last two months batting below
.200, has six consecutive hits over two games to improve his
average to .224.
Salomon Torres followed Fogg with three scoreless relief innings
for his first save since July 8, 2003, against Milwaukee and the
third of his career.
Moehler is winless in his last three starts. ... Florida is
3-12 in PNC Park, which opened in 2001. ... Fogg didn't allow a
homer after giving up nine in his first nine starts. ... The
Pirates are 20-16 since starting the season 4-11.