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Cubs, Carlos Marmol barely close out the Pirates 3-2

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood delivers during first inning baseball game against Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Thursday April 4 2013.

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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Updated: April 4, 2013 5:50PM



PITTSBURGH – The Cubs’ closer controversy is alive and well heading into the second series of the season, after Carlos Marmol escaped what looked like certain defeat by inducing a 4-6-3 double play from Neil Walker for the final out in a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Until then, Marmol’s outing looked a lot like Monday’s unraveling – that resulted in him getting yanked four batters in. This time, manager Dale Sveum had already used his available “weapons” for such a move.

Marmol inherited a 3-0 lead, but gave up a single, walk, RBI single to Andrew McCutchen and another run-scoring single to Gaby Sanchez leading off the inning – putting runners at the corners with nobody out and creating a one-run game.

He struck out Pedro Alvarez on three pitches. And then threw a first-pitch ball to Walker, who hit the second pitch to second baseman Alberto Gonzalez.

Somehow the Cubs escaped frigid Pittsburgh with their first opening-series win in four years – but with the heat of the first week of the season squarely on the shoulders of their embattled closer.



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