The Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on Saturday night. That was the final score. However, much of the buzz after the game focused on what happened between the two teams in the sixth inning.
Benches cleared in the sixth after Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez saw an inside fastball from Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl fly past him. After the game, CarGo said he believed the pitch was in retaliation for Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen being plunked in the top of the inning by Colorado starter German Marquez.
McCutchen was obviously not pleased about being hit by Marquez, slowly leaving the batter’s box and setting the stage for what would happen in the bottom of the inning.
"“People can say it wasn’t on purpose but it was clearly first pitch. 97 in. That’s why I reacted that way,” Gonzalez told Rox Pile and other media members after the game."
How he reacted was pointing at Kuhl and walking toward him after the pitch whizzed by him. Both benches and bullpens emptied immediately. There was plenty of pushing and pointing and yelling but no punches were thrown. Order was restored and both teams were issued warnings.
"“You never know how you’re going to react,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously I don’t come to the ballpark trying to fight or any of that. We’re just trying to play a baseball game. We’re not boxers. Sometimes your head gets a little hot. That’s just part of the game.”"
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Colorado manager Bud Black said after the game about Marquez, “There’s no way he hit (McCutchen). That ball got away from him.” When CarGo was involved in the bottom of the inning exchange, Marquez was one of the most animated Rockies of the bunch. However, he showed no signs of being emotional when he took the mound in the seventh, sitting the Pirates down in order.
"“We talk about that all of the time with our young guys. We have to develop that poise and competitiveness at the same time,” Black said. “The most important thing is to keep focused and keep under control. Be in command of what they can be in command of.”"
Marquez said after the game he was not trying to hit McCutchen. Gonzalez agreed.
"“There are some codes of the game. Their best player gets it and, of course, they’re going to come after you,” Gonzalez said. “We hit some guys yesterday but obviously it wasn’t on purpose. We have some young guys in the rotation that are going to miss sometimes. At the end of the day, we’re not trying to hit anybody. We’re just trying to play baseball.”"
On the first pitch after order was restored, Gonzalez roped a single to center.
"“It’s like any other thing. You can’t just get stuck with something. You have to get back to baseball. I want to get on base for my guys and that’s what I did. Nothing else,” Gonzalez said."
Interestingly, the Pirates and Rockies also had an issue in the final game of their three-game slate in Pittsburgh in mid-June that caused both benches to clear. The pitchers that night were the same as Saturday night’s starters, Kuhl and Marquez.
Gonzalez acknowledged the events in Pittsburgh but said he was just trying to focus on Saturday night’s game and outcome.
"“You gotta turn the page. Whatever happens today or a month ago or two months ago is over,” Gonzalez said. “You don’t want to create any problems. You just want to play ball. I got upset because he threw a hard 97 close to me. After that, it was over. Get back to business. Play baseball. That’s it.”"