DENVER -- Colorado Rockies standout Nolan Arenado charged the mound after a fastball from San Diego Padres starter Luis Perdomo sailed behind him, setting off a wild brawl that resulted in five ejections Wednesday during a testy series at Coors Field.
Perdomo tossed his glove at a furious Arenado, and the big-hitting third baseman started throwing punches at the pitcher in the third inning. The benches cleared and relievers ran in from the bullpen. Arenado yelled at Padres catcher A.J. Ellis near the San Diego dugout and had to be held back, with Padres bench coach Mark McGwire helping keep them separated.
"They thought they had to do something," said Arenado, who expects to be suspended. "I thought I had to do something, too. That's kind of why I went out there."
Just when the melee seemed to be winding down, Rockies starter German Marquez appeared to toss a towel toward the Padres, and Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra appeared to throw a punch. That briefly heated things back up.
Once order was finally restored, the umpires met for several minutes before ejecting Perdomo, Ellis, Arenado, Marquez and Parra.
"Our job is to try and calm everything down, but you've got to eject the aggressors," crew chief Brian Gorman said.
Ellis struggled to understand the situation.
"To react like that and go out there, especially when he didn't even get hit -- the ball was behind him," Ellis said. "Nolan goes out and at that point it's about having each other's back. You take care of your brothers and teammates.''
The night before, Rockies reliever Scott Oberg hit San Diego center fielder Manuel Margot in the ribs. Margot was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. Before the game, Rockies manager Bud Black said Oberg had reached out to Margot to explain his side.
Padres manager Andy Green wasn't impressed.
"Our guys are out there competing, trying to win baseball games, and it's been kind of where we've been all season long, pitching aggressively inside at times and they're clearly pitching aggressively inside," Green said. "I think Oberg has hit two of our guys. Marquez drilled Hunter today, so they're pitching aggressively inside. We've seen that repetitively and our guys at some point in time are going to stick up for each other and we're going to pitch inside as well."
On the first pitch in the third, Arenado leaned out of the way to avoid the ball hitting him in the back and immediately took off for the mound. Perdomo tried to ward off Arenado by tossing his glove, but it sailed over the Gold Glove third baseman's head.
"We've tried to come in more on Nolan knowing he's one of the absolute best players in the National League, and we've come in aggressively at times," Green said.
He later added: "I mean, if they keep drilling our guys repetitively, at some point in time you hope people do something about it. But it's definitely been a situation where we've been hit a few times here early in the season by the Rockies."
The fight seemed to fire up the Rockies, who scored five runs in the inning to take a 5-0 lead and went on to win 6-4. The Rockies have been struggling on offense this season.
"We won today and that's all that mattered," Arenado said.
This might not be the end of this feud, either. The two teams play again in Denver starting on April 23.
"I don't have the answer to that one," Arenado said. "We'll see."
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.