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cubs' bullpen faces unfamiliar struggles in 9-8 win over orioles

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cubs' bullpen faces unfamiliar struggles in 9-8 win over orioles

the cubs escaped what would have been an embarrassing outcome friday night, as addison russell's home run in the ninth inning was the difference in a 9-8 win over the orioles.much of the anxiety prior to russell's homer was the lack of the control by a cubs bullpen that posted a 3.26 era in the first half.the relievers were responsible for five of the seven walks issued, and many of the walks added stress in the latter innings as the orioles erased an 8-0 deficit."we can’t walk that many folks," manager joe maddon said. "we walked way too many folks. i want to believe it’s the rust from the layoff, but the layoff is necessary. it's one of those catch-22 moments. it just the way it is."we got through it. i’ll take it. we did play well. we did a lot of good things tonight. we did not pitch well out of the bullpen, which has been our strongest point of the first half."the bullpen threw 312 innings in the first half, and maddon has been careful not to tax them in preparation for the final two months."it would have been very difficult to lose this game," maddon said. "i will not deny that. but we didn’t. we won. the bullpen guys, take a break like that, they’ve been throwing a lot. you try to save them."we got through it. let’s come back (saturday night)."