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Cubs Marmol themselves, but still beat Pirates 3-2

Justin K. Aller

It was a pitcher's duel early on between James McDonald and Travis Wood, although, from what I could tell, McDonald didn't look that great. (I was at work and was unable to watch much of the game, but there were at least a couple fastballs there that were down around 89 MPH.) McDonald only allowed one run, on an RBI single by Starlin Castro, but that was enough to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead until the ninth, by which time both starters were long gone.

Jared Hughes came on in the ninth and struck out two batters but walked Anthony Rizzo with one out, and left a sinker up for Nate Schierholtz with two outs. Schierholtz hit it just over the fence in center, and the Cubs took a 3-0 lead. (I guess this is why Hurdle didn't bring in Hughes in the seventh last night. The flip side of that is that I don't know why you want Hughes out there facing lefties Schierholtz and Rizzo this time, when at least Justin Wilson should be available.)

It was too bad that happened, because Carlos Marmol. The Cubs' incredibly erratic closer came on in the bottom of the inning and immediately allowed four straight hitters to reach, giving up RBI singles to Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez and putting runners on the corners with no outs and the Cubs' lead down to one. Why Marmol is allowed to give up four straight baserunners is a mystery; why the Cubs kept him in even after that is even more of a mystery. But he struck out Pedro Alvarez on three pitches, then got Neil Walker to ground into a double play, meaning that the Pirates had the tying run on third with no outs and Nuke LaLoosh on the mound, and they still couldn't get the job done.