"But we didn't," manager Clint Hurdle said after the Rockies held on for a 10-8 victory after losing most of a 9-1 lead. "We won a ballgame. We did what we had to do when we needed to do it."
Matt Holliday drove in three runs for the Rockies, who entered the game having lost three of four.
All but one of the game's 18 runs scored in the first five innings, and there were five errors and a major league record-tying five sacrifice flies.
"This is a big win," said Willy Taveras, who scored three runs while playing for the first time in eight days due to a strained right quadriceps. "Especially considering we scored so many runs early and they were able to come back, it's a real big win for us."
The only starters on either team not to get a hit were Rockies second baseman Kazuo Matsui and Van Benschoten, who did not have an official at-bat.
"We almost coughed up an eight-run lead, but they weren't going to let it happen," Hurdle said.
Ryan Doumit had two hits and two RBI for Pittsburgh, which has lost four straight.
Things got out of hand quickly for Van Benschoten (0-4), who has made six starts since being recalled on June 16.
"When it goes bad, it goes bad," said Van Benschoten, whose ERA rose to 8.17.
The Rockies added a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Holliday. Colorado scored three in the third, one off Van Benschoten and two off reliever Tony Armas.
Van Benschoten allowed nine earned runs, six hits and two walks in two-plus innings.
The Pirates scored the next seven runs.
"If you look at this game, it's a tough loss to take, but at the same time, you take the positives out of it and the fact that we swung the bats," Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson said.
The Pirates got three runs in the third on RBI singles by Doumit, Jason Bay and Wilson that cut Colorado's lead to 9-4. Sacrifice flies by Adam LaRoche and Xavier Nady in the fourth made it a three-run game and the Pirates got within 9-8 in the fifth against Matt Herges on pinch-hitter Matt Kata's RBI single and a suicide squeeze bunt by Nate McLouth.
Despite being handed the eight-run lead, Buchholz could not earn the win. He allowed six runs -- four earned -- in four innings, striking out five and walking one.
"I really felt rusty tonight," said Buchholz, who was making his first start since June 1 after being demoted to the bullpen. "I could never get that rhythm that I've had coming out of the bullpen."
Holliday gave the Rockies a 10-8 lead with another sacrifice fly, the Rockies' third of the game, in the sixth.
The Pirates put two men on in both the sixth and seventh innings. LaTroy Hawkins (1-4), who was awarded the win by official scorer Tony Krizmanich, ended the first threat by getting Bay to ground into a double play.
"A lot of times, that's when you win the game, the sixth or seventh inning," said Hawkins, who did not find out he got the win until a teammate told him while he was in the shower.
Manuel Corpas worked the ninth for his second save.
"It's all about winning in the end and we did that tonight," Buchholz said. "It was closer than it should have been but it's always good to win."
- The last time there were five sacrifice flies in an NL game was last year between the same teams, June 7 at Colorado. The Rockies had all five.
- Pittsburgh entered the game having won five of six at PNC Park but in the Pirates' last three losses here they have given up a total of 27 runs.
- Wilson and Pirates pitching coach Jim Colburn were seen shouting at each other in the dugout an inning after Wilson misplayed a pop-up into a two-base error. Neither man would directly comment on it after the game, except for Colburn saying it was "not newsworthy."
- Hurdle called an error charged to 1B Todd Helton on a sharply hit ground ball in the seventh "the worst scorekeeping call I have ever seen. Ever."