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Blackmon exits with left hamstring cramp

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

ATLANTA -- The hamstring cramp that forced Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon to leave Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Braves is familiar, and might not be serious.

And the Rockies, who are in the third week of feeling their grip on a playoff position slipping, don't need even a hint of injury to their most consistent performer.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- The hamstring cramp that forced Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon to leave Friday night's 5-2 loss to the Braves is familiar, and might not be serious.

And the Rockies, who are in the third week of feeling their grip on a playoff position slipping, don't need even a hint of injury to their most consistent performer.

View Full Game Coverage

Blackmon, who leads the National League with a .337 batting average, crumpled to the batter's box dirt after fouling off a Sam Freeman pitch in the eighth inning. On July 19, Blackmon left a game under similar circumstances, but didn't miss a game. It helped that the Rockies were off the following day.

"Same thing," said Blackmon, who said he would "expect to" play Saturday. He has played in all but two of the Rockies' 128 games this season.

Blackmon also leads the NL in hits (174), total bases (320) and runs (116), and has 30 home runs -- the first time a player has hit that many from the leadoff spot since the Angels' Mike Trout in 2012 and in the NL since Hanley Ramirez in 2008. He is a key reason the Rockies are in position for the second NL Wild Card spot, but the race has tightened.

Manager Bud Black said, "Hopefully, we'll get some fluids in him, get the cramping to subside, and we'll see how he is tomorrow."

After Blackmon left, Pat Valaika replaced him and swung through a Freeman pitch to complete a strikeout, which was charged to Blackmon.

Since the last time they won consecutive games, the Rockies have dropped 12 of 17 and scored three or fewer runs in 12 of them.

"We've just got to get more hits, score more runs, get more hits with guys on base -- all those offensive things that we haven't been doing lately," Blackmon said.

Teammate Carlos Gonzalez said, "Hopefully, he's better, because he's been one of the best players in the game, the best leadoff [hitter] in the game. You don't want to lose him. Hopefully he's healthy and shows up to play tomorrow, or the next couple of games."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Charlie Blackmon