A homer, three consecutive walks — two on nine combined pitches — and a two-run hit before the second out of the ninth inning?

It may have looked like a here-we-go-again inning of regression for Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. But manager Dale Sveum, who demoted Marmol for similar work earlier this season, didn't see Friday's rough ninth that way.

''Like I told Marmol, don't think too much into that,'' Sveum said. ''It wasn't like [he was] all over the place. [He was] just missing with some sliders. Things didn't work, but the bottom line is he got the out when he had to and jammed the guy and got a soft liner, and fortunately we got a double play out of it.''

That would be Lucas Duda's shot toward the middle that Marmol snared before tossing to first for the final out and one-run win.

''Like I told him, 'You threw the strikes when you had to,' '' Sveum said. ''I told him on paper it didn't look too good, but we've seen the other ones where they're much worse than that.''

Regardless, he's going to have to do a lot better than that for the Cubs to have a chance to trade him in the next several weeks.

Marmol, who shrugs off the trade buzz, said he has felt strong and confident during a 7-for-7 stretch of save chances. Much of that has come after pitching coach Chris Bosio banned Marmol from shaking off his catchers.