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Marmol thankful for master's advice
Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux and rookie right-hander Carlos Marmol now have something in common.
Both Cubs pitchers won their major-league starting debuts in Cincinnati against the Reds.
"I remember mine. It was here in Cincinnati," said the 40-year-old Maddux, who has 325 career wins. "I was nervous big-time. I did all right. We won."
Maddux won his first game 11-3 over the Reds on Sept. 7, 1986. Marmol won his debut nearly 20 years later, 9-3, on Sunday as the Cubs took three out of four from a Cincinnati team that had won eight in a row.
Marmol, who was throwing in the low to mid-90s Sunday afternoon, said he has been receiving pitching advice from Maddux.
"I talk to Maddux every day and I have questions for him," said Marmol, who was called up from Double-A West Tenn on June 4. "He answers me and tells me what I am supposed to do and how to pitch to certain guys. He is a good man,"
Marmol, getting the starting assignment after Kerry Wood was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of recurring shoulder stiffness, was masterful over six innings, giving up just two hits while walking three and striking out seven. He threw 99 pitches. A solo homer to David Ross in the fifth inning was his only mistake.
"He carries himself well around here. He'll do fine," Maddux said of Marmol, a converted catcher and outfielder who threw four scoreless innings of relief before Sunday's start.
The Cubs, who wound up their road trip with a 6-4 record, broke the game open with a five-run eighth inning that included home runs by Phil Nevin and Ronny Cedeno. Neifi Perez, starting at third base in place of injured Aramis Ramirez, drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and his first home run of the season. He also doubled in the eighth inning.
"When you don't play every dayyou rest for five daysit's hard to keep your swing at the same level," Perez said. "I am not even close to Aramis."
Reds starter Eric Milton threw 41/3 perfect innings before Matt Murton, Jacque Jones and Cedeno rapped consecutive singles in the Cubs' two-run fifth.
The Reds scored all of their runs on solo homers. Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn also homered.
"The main thing is that Marmol put us in a position to win," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.
Marmol, the fourth Cubs pitcher this season to make his first career start, is the first of those four to win his debut. He received strong relief help from David Aardsma, Will Ohman, Scott Eyre and Roberto Novoa.
The Cubs are likely to pass up struggling Glendon Rusch in the rotation this week against Houston. Sean Marshall probably will go Tuesday night, followed by Maddux on Wednesday and Carlos Zambrano on Thursday, according to pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Marmol, who was given a game ball to commemorate his first big-league victory, said he could hardly wait to call his mother in the Dominican Republic and share the good news.