Cubs lose, but will they make a move?

Tribune staff reporter

The chances of the Cubs making a blockbuster deal before Tuesday's trade deadline are remote and manager Lou Piniella says he's fine with idea of standing pat.

"I don't know how we get better," Piniella said. "What you see here is probably what's going to be here."

Piniella made his remarks before St. Louis trounced the Cubs 11-1 Thursday night at Busch Stadium to beat ex-Cardinals starter Jason Marquis.

The Cubs remained two games behind division-leading Milwaukee and won the series, leaving them 7-2-0 in their last nine series.

"Hey look, we won two of three here," Piniella said. "Let's go to Cincinnati and try to do the same."

Marquis allowed six runs on five hits and four walks in five innings, the third time in his last four starts he has allowed six runs. Piniella said he would give him the ball again Tuesday against Philadelphia, a pre-emptive strike against those who think Marquis' spot in the rotation is in jeopardy.

But the Marquis he has seen the last two months isn't the same one who started the year.

"Obviously you look back and see what went wrong," Marquis said. "I'll work on that and move forward. It's just one game. I didn't make pitches when I needed to, walked a few guys and didn't get outs when I needed to."

Trailing 1-0, he completely fell part in the fifth inning, walking pitcher Braden Looper with a man on as Looper was showing bunt, walking Jim Edmonds to load the bases, hitting Albert Pujols to force in a run and serving up a grand slam to Chris Duncan on a 2-2 pitch to give St. Louis a 6-0 lead.

Piniella was more upset about the walk to Looper, whom Marquis nearly hit.

"Just let him bunt," he said. "Get an out, and if they get a run, it's a 2-0 ballgame. Now Eckstein lays down a good bunt and another walk and you hit Pujols and [Duncan] hits it into the bullpen."

Marquis blamed himself for failing to be aggressive with Looper, a .167 hitter.

"That was a little frustrating when they're giving you a free out," he said. "You need to put yourself in a better position to get out of that inning."

The Cardinals added four runs off Billy Petrick in the sixth, which included Pujols' three-run homer.

While there has been no talk of replacing Marquis in the rotation, Piniella said before the game that if the Cubs needed another starter if would be Triple-A Iowa right-hander Sean Gallagher.

Wade Miller is falling out of the picture. Miller allowed seven runs on six hits with two walks in a three-inning relief stint at Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday, throwing in the 84-86 m.p.h. range. It was Miller's third rehab outing in his second rehab stint and it appears unlikely he will be joining the team any time soon.

What's important now is getting Marquis back on track. After going 5-1 in his first seven starts, Marquis is 2-5 since with a 5.81 earned-run average. It's a familiar story in St. Louis, where he suffered a second half fade last year that led to his exit.

The Cubs scored only one run in seven innings off Looper—a Derrek Lee home run—and managed seven hits on the night. Despite a recent offensive lull, Piniella said the Cubs aren't in the market for any big-name hitters.

"I don't think we're going to make a trade just to make a trade," Piniella said. "We're looking at [Matt] Murton. He's starting to swing the bat well at Triple-A again."

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