A loud crashing sound emanated from the Cubs' showers shortly after Carlos Marmol blew a three-run ninth-inning lead Sunday in a stunning 4-3 loss to the Mets.

No matter who threw a large metal object that made enough noise to cause everyone in the clubhouse to turn their heads, it was obvious the frustration of Marmol's season-long nightmare was shared by fans and players alike.

So what should the Cubs say to those fans who believe the team should just eat the remainder of Marmol's $9.8 million salary?

"We've come to find out that he has trouble with the last three outs," manager Dale Sveum replied. "But somebody has to pitch the other innings, and he's done a pretty good job in that role."

Can Marmol possibly succeed in Chicago with the negative reaction associated with his name?

"That's no fun for anybody," Sveum said. "We all know the reaction he gets. But since he's been taken out of the closer's role, he's done a pretty good job, as well as anybody. That's all you can ask for when you're not closing."

Marmol's latest blown save — his third of the year and the Cubs' 14th in 27 chances — was one of the more painful ones in a season only a masochist could enjoy. Matt Garza had pitched seven shutout innings, and the Cubs were on the verge of sweeping the Mets in New York for the first time since Aug. 2-5, 1991, and winning their fourth straight.

But Marmol gave up a leadoff homer to Marlon Byrd, a walk to Lucas Duda, a single to John Buck and a one-out, three-run walk-off home run to .097-hitting Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Marmol conceded he "left a pitch up and right down the middle" to Nieuwenhuis.