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Carlos Marmol gets a close save for Cubs

Reliever Carlos Marmol got his first save since May 2 Friday against BostRed Sox. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Reliever Carlos Marmol got his first save since May 2 on Friday against the Boston Red Sox. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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TONIGHT

Red Sox at Cubs

The facts: 6:15, Fox-32, 720-AM, 1200-AM.

The pitchers: Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57).

Updated: July 17, 2012 12:50PM



Back as the Cubs’ closer, Carlos Marmol had manager Dale Sveum and the Wrigley Field crowd on edge again Friday.

‘‘I loaded the bases, but I got the three outs,’’ Marmol said after picking up his first save since
May 2 in the Cubs’ 3-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox.

Sveum went to the mound after Marmol walked Scott Podsednik to load the bases with two outs in the ninth.

‘‘It wasn’t a lot of nice words,’’ Sveum said.

‘‘He didn’t tell me good things,’’ Marmol said, ‘‘but I appreciate what he said to me: ‘Throw strikes; I don’t want to take you out of the game.’ ’’

Sveum said he and his staff made the decision two days ago to return Marmol to the role he lost after a succession of blown saves.

‘‘He’s done everything we’ve asked in his side sessions,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘We’re trying to solidify the bullpen a little in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

‘‘At least he has some confidence with his fastball again. He’s getting back in counts with his fastball, and that’s what we’ve asked him to do.’’

Attention-getter

It was pointless for Cubs president Theo Epstein to try to deflect attention from himself as the series between the Cubs and Red Sox began.

Boston reporters and a national media contingent swelled the throng around him as he volleyed questions about his old team and the direction of his new team.

‘‘It’s not really that much about me,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘When the Red Sox come to a historic place like this, it’s a special experience. It’s probably the two best fan bases in baseball.’’

Catching up

The Cubs might keep three catchers next week when Geovany Soto is expected back from his rehab assignment. Welington Castillo returned Thursday from a sprained right knee, and Steve Clevenger has played regularly since he returned from a strained right oblique and is hitting .284.

‘‘Clevenger can play different positions on the field, so you’re not worrying about pinch-hitting,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘We’ll see what happens.’’

Pitching change

Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett was scratched from his start Sunday because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Beckett will have tests to determine the extent of the problem.

Left-hander Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.04 ERA) will pitch against lefty Paul Maholm.



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