DENVER -- Rookie right-hander German Marquez tied a career high with nine strikeouts -- and was hot under the collar, when necessary -- as the Rockies ended the Pirates' win streak at six games with a 7-3 victory Saturday night at Coors Field.Marquez (8-4) used a curveball, slider and changeup
DENVER -- Rookie right-hander German Marquez tied a career high with nine strikeouts -- and was hot under the collar, when necessary -- as the Rockies ended the Pirates' win streak at six games with a 7-3 victory Saturday night at Coors Field.
Marquez (8-4) used a curveball, slider and changeup that were sharp from the outset -- and his fastball topped out at 98.6 mph -- as he held the Pirates to three hits and two runs in seven innings. After two walks and a run in the first, he issued no more walks, and his only additional run was a solo homer by Josh Bell.
"I always remain positive, try to get the win," Marquez said.
The Rockies, who moved back into a tie with the D-backs for the National League's top Wild Card spot, are unbeaten in Marquez's last six home starts, in which Marquez is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA.
"His start was good," said Pirates outfielder Starling Marte of Marquez. "He mixed the pitches, fastball and slider were good. I give him credit tonight. That's a very good start for him."
Marquez also was one of the more forceful Rockies to charge from the dugout after Pirates starter Chad Kuhl (3-7) nearly hit Carlos Gonzalez to lead off the bottom of the sixth. It happened after Marquez had hit Andrew McCutchen in the top of the inning, and it led to both benches clearing. Another factor was the Pirates were hit four times in Friday's 13-5 victory over the Rockies. But no punches were thrown, and order was quickly restored.
Charlie Blackmon tripled, doubled and scored twice, and Nolan Arenado, Ian Desmond, Gonzalez and Alexi Amarista added doubles as the Rockies finished with 13 hits. They have 84 hits in their past six contests.
"We're doing a better job, having better at-bats, making the pitcher work a little harder to get us out," said Blackmon, who rebounded Saturday after having his hit streak halted at 14 games Friday. "And if he's not on, then we can string things together."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Use the force, Josh: On Star Wars night at Coors Field, Arenado stood on first with two outs in the fifth and the Rockies leading, 4-2, when Desmond lined a ball over McCutchen's head in center field for a double. Arenado attempted to score, but McCutchen threw to Josh Harrison, whose relay from the outfield grass was a perfect strike to catcher Francisco Cervelli, who tagged Arenado.
"Oh, how good," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the relay. "We're doing some good things. We're meeting the demands of the game more often than not. You'd like to win every game, but we still did a lot of good things tonight."
A new hope squashed: Rockies closer Greg Holland usually doesn't work until the ninth inning. In fact, during the sixth-inning conflict, he was the last guy to arrive near the scrum. But when the Pirates put runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth, the Rockies called on Holland for his first multi-inning save opportunity of the year. He didn't have to work long in the eighth -- he retired Bell on one pitch, a fly to center.
"No score is too safe here in Colorado," said McCutchen. "We had opportunities, we had chances. We put ourselves in a good position to be able to make something happen, and we weren't able to like we wanted. But we got their closer to throw 30-plus pitches, and it's more likely he's gonna be shut down tomorrow."
Amarista's RBI double and DJ LeMahieu's RBI single extended the Rockies' lead, but the save was by no means easy for Holland, who walked two, gave up a run on an infield single and had to get a Harrison flyout to center with the bases loaded to complete his Majors'-leading 31st save in 32 chances.
Rockies manager Bud Black had Adam Ottavino warming up in the ninth and visited Holland before the Harrison at-bat, but said it was to give Holland a rest.
"I told Greg, 'You're in this game. You're getting this guy,'" Black said.
• Just days after return, Marte in midseason form
"Obviously I don't come to the ballpark trying to fight or any of that. I'm just trying to play a baseball game. We're not boxers or anything, but sometimes your head gets a little hot." -- Gonzalez on his reaction to Kuhl's pitch
"We got hit five times in two games, and we try and push somebody off the plate and they took exception to it. It's part of the game." -- Hurdle on the benches-clearing incident.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 34 pitches Holland threw marked the most he has thrown in a game since Aug. 5, 2012, when he threw 46 while earning a 10-inning win for the Royals against the Rangers.
ON THE RUN
Blackmon's speed on his seventh-inning triple, which led to a run, was clocked at 29 feet per second by Statcast™. For comparison, the MLB average is 27 feet per second, and Blackmon's average is 28. But Blackmon went above his average speed when he needed it, when he dashed 87.3 feet -- at 28.1 feet per second -- to coral Bell's liner and end the Pirates' threat in the eighth. Blackmon covered the distance in 4.8 seconds.
Statcast™ of the Day: Blackmon shows speed, range
Pirates: Veteran righty Ivan Nova will take the mound for Sunday's series finale beginning at 3:10 p.m. ET. Nova has faced the Rockies three times in his career -- all with the Yankees -- and has given up 14 earned runs in 15 innings. LeMahieu in particular has had success against Nova, with four hits in five at-bats.
Rockies: Rookie lefty Kyle Freeland (9-7, 3.67 ERA) turned in a special -- and nearly historic -- performance in his last start. He pitched 8 1/3 no-hit innings until giving up a Melky Cabrera single and leaving a 10-0 victory over the White Sox on July 9. Since then, he has thrown just three relief innings as the Rockies have worked to preserve his arm. He returns to the rotation against the Pirates at Coors Field on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. MT for the rubber game of the series.
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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Pirates on Saturday.