Piniella defends decision to stick with Lilly

PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella was still feeling the pain of Tuesday night's late-inning 3-2 turnaround loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Piniella felt that Ted Lilly was still the right man to face Neil Walker, who hit what proved to be the game-winning two-run home run -- the first of his career -- in the eighth inning.

"We were looking for two outs [from Lilly] then I was going to get [Carlos] Marmol in," Piniella said of Lilly, who had retired Walker in three previous at-bats on Tuesday. "I don't want to get in the habit of throwing Marmol 35 or 40 pitches to save a baseball game. I just don't."

Marmol was in the bullpen warming up when Walker gave the Pirates the lead.

"I never dreamed home run," Piniella said. "Never gave it a thought."

Piniella, who admitted that those type of losses cause difficult overnights for managers, was asked about being second-guessed for not taking Lilly out.

"You know, I going to start sending the pitching coach out there so nothing is perceived my way," Piniella said. "That's the easiest thing to do. But I'm not here to protect myself. I'm here to help our team win baseball games. [Lilly] didn't talk me out of taking him out. If I wanted to take him out, I would have had him out before I crossed the white line."

Piniella was adamant about his role as the manager and says he's not worried about how he is looked upon by the media or the fan base.

"The perception of me is immaterial," Piniella said. "The outcome is more important than perception."

  • The Cubs have not scored more than five runs in a game since May 18, a span of 15 games. They also have scored more than five runs in a game three times since May 4, a span of 27 games.

  • Derrek Lee was a late scratch with a tight right hamstring. Lee also has a 60-game errorless streak at first base.

  • Going into Wednesday's game, Carlos Zambrano has averaged just 5 2/3 innings in his past 41 starts dating back to Aug. 3, 2008.