"He's a closer and he pitched like it today," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Marmol's outing, in which he struck out both batters he faced in the eighth inning of a 4-2 win over the Astros.
Marmol was given a few days to work with pitching coach Mark Riggins to get his mechanics straightened out. The right-hander had walked eight in his previous four outings before Friday, including four on July 14 against the Marlins.
"I'm hoping we're back to normal," Quade said before Friday's game.
But instead of calling upon Marmol with a two-run lead in the ninth, Quade inserted Marmol in the eighth to get Chris Johnson and Clint Barmes. Sean Marshall pitched the ninth for the save.
Quade talked to Riggins prior to Friday's game and decided to give Marmol one more test. He passed.
"I feel very good now," Marmol said. "I've got my confidence back."
This season, Marmol has been successful on 19 of 26 save opportunities, but he does not have a save since July 9. In July, he's 0-1 with three saves in five chances, appearing in nine games and compiling a 12.00 ERA. He's given up eight runs on five hits and nine walks over six innings.
"Marmol's a good pitcher and he's a great closer," Carlos Zambrano said. "But he's human, too. The most important thing is he keeps his head up, like I told him the other day, and comes back ready.
"He has to try to be the same guy that he was last year and the year before and the year he went to the All-Star Game," Zambrano said. "That's what the game is about is making adjustments and come back stronger after a bad outing. Consistency is the most important thing in baseball."