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HR trot gives Blackmon chance to savor ASG

@adamdberry
July 10, 2019

CLEVELAND -- In the National League clubhouse at Progressive Field on Tuesday afternoon, Charlie Blackmon reflected on how fast everything seems to take place at the Midsummer Classic. You set certain expectations for the event, Blackmon said, then you sometimes forget to take time to enjoy the moment. While trotting

CLEVELAND -- In the National League clubhouse at Progressive Field on Tuesday afternoon, Charlie Blackmon reflected on how fast everything seems to take place at the Midsummer Classic. You set certain expectations for the event, Blackmon said, then you sometimes forget to take time to enjoy the moment.

While trotting around the bases Tuesday night, Blackmon had a few moments to appreciate his fourth trip to the All-Star Game. The Rockies outfielder put the NL on the board in the sixth inning, ripping a solo home run to right-center field off A's reliever Liam Hendriks in the NL's 4-3 loss to the American League at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

"It was really good just to get a hit. That was my first hit. It felt great," Blackmon said. "I'm really glad to be here. I'm glad my family got to be here to see it."

Blackmon's first-ever hit in the Midsummer Classic came off his bat at 101.2 mph and traveled a projected 384 feet, according to Statcast, as he barreled up a 1-0 fastball from Hendriks. Before that, he had been 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in his All-Star Game career.

"I felt like I contributed for the first time," Blackmon said. "I wish I could've done something in that next at-bat, but it was still fun to be out there."

Blackmon came up again with one out and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, only to go down swinging against Indians closer Brad Hand. Mets rookie Pete Alonso picked up his NL teammate, driving a two-run single to left that cut the AL's lead to one run.

Blackmon's strikeout was part of a trend. AL pitchers racked up 16 strikeouts, including three by pitchers who struck out the side, the fourth-highest strikeout total by one league in All-Star Game history.

"It's really hard to hit in this game. I don't think people understand exactly how hard it is," Blackmon said. "Everything that I normally do that makes me a good baseball player doesn't happen in this game. There's no scouting, no structured warmup. You're kind of shooting from the hip, and I think it's just really hard to play that way."

This is the second straight year a Rockies player has homered in the All-Star Game, as Trevor Story went deep in 2018. Blackmon joined Story, Matt Holliday (2008) and Todd Helton (2003) as the fourth Colorado player to hit a homer in the All-Star Game.

The 33-year-old right fielder hit 20 homers in the first half, but only four of them came away from Coors Field. Blackmon entered the All-Star break slashing .460/.516/.964 in the Rockies' hitter-friendly home ballpark compared to a .227/.261/.369 slash line on the road.

The Rockies were again represented well on the field at the Midsummer Classic. Nolan Arenado made the start at third base, though he finished 0-for-2 at the plate. Story entered the game in the third inning, replacing Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, and struck out just before Blackmon homered. David Dahl recorded a base hit in the eighth and scored on Alonso's single in his first trip to the All-Star Game.

Then there was Blackmon, who found his fourth straight All-Star experience to be just as meaningful as the first.

"Yeah, I know what to expect, but you still get nervous. You're still excited to talk to the guys," Blackmon said. "It's a feeling that I don't think you can become numb to. It's special every time you get to experience it."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.