By Cliff Corcoran
April 01, 2013

Carlos MarmolCarlos Marmol couldn't quite close the door in Pittsburgh on Monday, thought he Cubs won anyway. (USA Today Sports)

Despite signing veteran Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year, $9.5 million contract this offseason, the Cubs entered the 2013 season with erratic incumbent closer Carlos Marmol still in the closer role. Four batters into Marmols' season, however, he may have already lost his job.

The Cubs handed Marmol a 3-0 ninth-inning lead in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon, a lead established by a two-run home run by Anthony Rizzo in the top of the first and held by an outstanding outing by Jeff Samardzija, who threw eight scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and a walk and striking out nine. Marmol struck out the first batter he faced, Garrett Jones, but it took him eight pitches to do so. He then hit Andrew McCutchen with a 1-0 pitch and gave up an RBI single to Pedro Alvarez. After a visit to the mound, he walked Gaby Sanchez on five pitches to put the tying run on base, at which point Cubs manager Dale Svuem pulled the plug and went to his bullpen.

James Russell Neil Walker Russell Martin

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