Carlos Marmol felt the wave of relief and couldn’t hide his emotions. He pumped his fist and flexed his muscles in the middle of PNC Park.

Marmol watched the 4-6-3 double play unfold on Thursday afternoon and got mobbed by his teammates. The Cubs closer got the heart rate pumping again, but managed to escape this time with a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs insist all that matters is they got to line up for handshakes and fly to Atlanta with a 2-1 record. But as the Chicago and Japanese media crowded around Marmol’s locker and stuck cameras and microphones in his face, you wondered how long they’ll be able to stomach this with Kyuji Fujikawa waiting to take over the job.

“It’s tough, but I’m still fighting,” Marmol said. “I’m going to keep fighting every time I go out to the mound.”

Manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio promised to get Marmol right back out there after pulling him from the ninth inning on Opening Day. That means cover-your-eyes moments for the Cubs fans groaning and cursing on Twitter as soon as they see the alert: Marmol’s warming up in the bullpen.

This was a relatively low-stress environment. The 12:36 p.m. (EST) first pitch, 45-degree temperature and two teams expected to finish at or near the bottom of the National League Central left entire sections of the waterfront ballpark empty.

Nate Schierholtz had just driven a 3-1 sinker from Jared Hughes over the center-field fence and into the bullpen for a two-run homer that gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning.