It's pretty clear the Chicago Cubs have bullpen issues. For the third straight outing, closer Carlos Marmol struggled in relief, and the Cubbies lost a heartbreaker, 6-5, to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Despite leading 5-1 heading into the last two innings, the Cubs bullpen imploded to give this one away. The collapse culminated in home runs off the bats of B.J. and Justin Upton in the bottom of the ninth.
David O'Brien @DOBrienAJC
According to SABR, 6th time in MLB history bros homered in same inning. 1st time since Ripkens in '96. #Braves4/7/2013, 2:53:17 AM
Facing Marmol to lead off the inning, B.J. launched a solo shot to tie the game before Justin's long ball gave the Braves the walk-off victory two batters later. The game-winner was Justin's second home run of the night and capped a three-hit, three-RBI performance for the younger Upton brother.
Baseball Tonight @BBTN
Justin Upton (@JUP_8TL) - Most HR in first 5 games for @Braves over last 90 seasons: http://t.co/Yr5k6bgWSm4/7/2013, 2:31:38 AM
It was the first time this season the brothers have gone deep in the same game. Considering both of their power strokes, it's likely this will happen more than a few times as the season progresses.
For the Cubs, Marmol was not the only reliever at fault in this one. Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa was just as bad in his one inning of work out of the bullpen, allowing three runs on four hits in the eighth inning.
Marmol and Fujikawa helped waste a strong outing from starter Carlos Villanueva, who lasted 6.2 innings and allowed only one run in his first start of the season.
Jim Bowden @JimBowden_ESPN
How much longer can Sveum stay with blown save Marmol? #Fukijawa4/7/2013, 2:21:26 AM
Braves starter Julio Tehran was spared the loss despite allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings of work.