Lilly feels right at home at Wrigley

Lilly feels right at home at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Ted Lilly tried to convince Lou Piniella to let him finish Saturday's game.

"I wanted to," Lilly said. "He's tough. I've seen a few of our guys try to change his mind, and not too often."

The left-hander did just fine over eight innings, striking out 10 and stifling the Florida Marlins in a 6-1 Cubs win.

It was the 13th career double-digit strikeout game for Lilly, who has given up one earned run over 21 2/3 innings at Wrigley Field. On Saturday, Cody Ross connected on a solo homer with one out in the fifth, and that was it.

"I love pitching here," Lilly said. "There's so much energy to feed off."

Lilly gave the crowd of 40,083 something to cheer about in the third when he doubled off the right-field wall, driving in two to open a 5-0 lead. Marlins starter Anibel Sanchez had intentionally walked Aaron Miles with two on and two outs to face Lilly.

"It's nothing personal -- I don't take it that way," Lilly said of the intentional walk to Miles. "If I was a regular player or something like that, I would."

It was Lilly's fourth double, and the two RBIs are a career high.

"That was fun," Lilly said. "I'd like to say the wind wasn't blowing out, but once it got up there, it carried pretty well. At that point in the game, it was pretty big, as far as momentum goes.

"It's important for us as pitchers to be able to get our bunts down first and every once in a while be able to come up with a big hit or find a way to work a walk. Those things are important, and you realize that trying to get the other pitchers out."

Lilly knows. In his last start April 27 in Arizona, he served up a two-run double to pitcher Dan Haren.

On Saturday, Lilly got one groundball out, and the rest were either strikeouts or fly balls. He got some defensive help from Micah Hoffpauir in right and Kosuke Fukudome in center, who slammed into the outfield wall to snare Wes Helms' ball in the seventh. Lilly did not walk a batter, the 26th time in his career he has done that.

"He was outstanding," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the lefty. "We didn't hit the ball and he deserves a lot of credit for that, because he pitched a tremendous ballgame. He made one mistake, the home run. And that really was about it."

It was exactly what Piniella wanted, too, because it gave everyone but Aaron Heilman in the bullpen a day off. It wasn't a perfect outing. Lilly was called for two balks, the second time in the seventh when the ball simply came out of his hand.

In the third, he appeared to beat Cameron Maybin to first and argued briefly when Maybin was called safe. Lilly appeared to come up limping on the play.

"I've just been late leaving the mound," Lilly said. "I'm kind of surveying a little bit instead of reacting quicker. I'm upset with myself about not seeing the play develop."

The play prompted athletic trainer Mark O'Neal to check Lilly out.

"I got to the bag, and [Maybin] kicked my foot coming by," Lilly said. "That was one [reason] I felt like I got him. My foot was on the bag when he came through. I looked at it on the replay, and it was a close play."

That, and Ross' homer were the only glitches.

"[Lilly] had everything working," Ross said. "His fastball, he was spotting it. His curveball, he was getting it over for a strike. He was backdooring it. His slider to lefties, he was starting it over the middle of the plate and breaking it away. He threw well. We didn't get the job done. He pitched well enough to beat us."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.