DENVER -- German Marquez matched a career best with nine strikeouts in seven solid innings and also had a wayward pitch that fueled a near brawl as the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on Saturday night.
Marquez (8-4) hit Andrew McCutchen with a pitch in the sixth inning, and the Pirates outfielder strode toward the mound before being headed off by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild and slowly taking his base. Going into the game, the Pirates had a major league-high 55 batters hit by pitches, including four by Rockies pitchers on Friday night.
In apparent retaliation, Chad Kuhl threw an inside pitch leading off the bottom of the sixth that narrowly missed Carlos Gonzalez, who had to back away from the plate sharply to avoid it. He dropped his bat and walked toward the mound, exchanging words with Kuhl as Fairchild and catcher Francisco Cervelli blocked his path. Players and coaches from both teams streamed onto the field and though there were some heated exchanges, no punches were thrown.
Calm prevailed after warnings were issued to both teams and play resumed without further incident.
The Pirates had their six-game winning streak halted despite Josh Bell's home run leading off the fourth.
Marquez gave up an RBI double to McCutchen in the first but kept the Pirates largely in check the rest of the way. He set down three straight batters in the fourth after yielding Bell's homer to start the inning, and recorded strikeouts in six of his seven innings.
Marquez also singled for the Rockies' first hit of the game in the third and scored.
Greg Holland got four outs for his major league-leading 31st save in 32 chances. The Pirates loaded the bases in the ninth with one out but Holland struck out pinch-hitter Jose Osuna and got Josh Harrison to fly out to center around an infield RBI single by Starling Marte.
Kuhl (3-7) allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings. He started strong but the Rockies got to him for a three-run third that put Colorado in front to stay.
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco has been placed on the 10-day disabled list after straining his left hamstring running out a grounder in Friday's win over the Rockies. LHP Steve Brault was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to fill the roster vacancy. Brault is expected to work out of the bullpen.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis, who's battling back from testicular cancer, is slated to make his third rehab start and first at the Triple-A level for Albuquerque on Sunday. He's slated to throw 60-65 pitches.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.67 ERA), who carried a no-hitter into the ninth in his last start, faces Pittsburgh for the second time this season. A rookie, Freeland took the loss in Pittsburgh's 7-1 home victory earlier this season.