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Marlins lack finishing kick in marathons

DENVER -- Shortly after the clock struck midnight back home on the East Coast last night, the Marlins turned into pumpkins and lost a 5-4 decision in 13 innings to the Rockies -- the last-place Colorado Rockies. Steve Cishek game up a game-tying tape-measure home run in the ninth to Corey Dickerson before Sam Dyson lost it in the 13th on a Dickerson RBI single.

And so instead of advancing to within three games of the wild-card leaders and improving to two games over .500 for the first time since June, the Marlins remained at four out and returned to the ho-hum .500 level.

So much for the Marlins' 1-run magic. While it was easy to point the finger at Cishek and the fact last night's outcome provided further indication of his difficult August in which batters are hitting .417 (15 for 36) against him, just as much blame could be assigned to a lineup that struck out 16 times, left 15 men on base, and pretty much went silent at the end.

All of it added up to a stinging defeat against a team the Marlins were hoping to sweep and must now defeat this afternoon just to win the series.

It also added up to yet another loss in a marathon consuming more than four hours (4:28 to be exact).

While the Marlins are 9-10 in extra-inning games this season, a closer examination reveals it's the extra-long ones -- games of 13 innings or longer in duration -- that have been their greatest undoing. They are now 0-6 in such marathons, with five of those coming in June. If you throw in a loss to the Dodgers on May 3, which was over in nine innings but took 4:07 to complete, the Marlins are 0-7 in games lasting four hours or longer.

No wonder the Marlins are at the forefront of the push to speed up games.

Then again, last night's game would have never made it to the 13th had Adeiny Hechavarria made this ridiculous, game-saving catch in the 12th on Justin Morneau's shallow fly ball with two outs and runners at the corners: