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Blackmon's uncommon feat a Rockies first

Outfielder on a tear since returning from injured list
@JakeDRill
June 19, 2019

PHOENIX -- Not many players have been on a roll like Charlie Blackmon is on right now. Not even his four-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger-winning teammate, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. “It’s unbelievable, man,” Arenado said. “I mean, he’s probably physically worn down from running the bases and getting too

PHOENIX -- Not many players have been on a roll like Charlie Blackmon is on right now. Not even his four-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger-winning teammate, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

“It’s unbelievable, man,” Arenado said. “I mean, he’s probably physically worn down from running the bases and getting too many hits. It’s that crazy.”

After a huge weekend series against the Padres, Blackmon collected three hits in the Rockies’ series-opening 8-1 win over the D-backs on Tuesday at Chase Field, becoming the first player to record five straight three-hit games in Rockies history, and the first in MLB since the Astros’ Jose Altuve from July 4-9, 2017.

The MLB record for consecutive three-hit games is six, set by the Royals’ George Brett (May 8-13, 1976) and the Brooklyn Robins’ Jimmy Johnston (June 25-30, 1923). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Blackmon is only the 12th player to do it in five straight games since 1901, and nobody achieved the feat between Brett in ’76 and Altuve in ’17.

Johnston also set the Modern Era (since 1900) record for most hits in a five-game span during his stretch with 19, per Elias. Blackmon has 18 in his past five games.

“I feel like I’m doing a good job of not trying to do too much,” Blackmon said. “I think sometimes I get into trouble, as do most guys, when they try and hit the ball really, really hard. I just feel like I’m not trying to do that right now.”

However, Blackmon is hitting the ball -- a lot. The reigning National League Player of the Week had four hits in each of the Rockies’ first three games of their previous series against the Padres. He then notched three hits in Sunday’s finale.

After Monday’s off-day, Blackmon led off Tuesday’s game with a double down the right-field line against D-backs right-hander Merrill Kelly, later scoring on Arenado’s two-run homer. He then singled in the third and seventh.

“There are times when I just watch and admire,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I think we all do when players do these things. I can’t help but repeat this: It’s because of hard work and preparation and talent. This is not happening by a fluke.”

Blackmon went on the injured list with a right calf strain in late May and missed a little more than two weeks. Since returning on June 8, he is batting .510 (25-for-49) with six homers, 16 RBIs and 16 runs scored over 10 games.

Take out the first two games Blackmon played after coming off the IL, and he’s batting .571 (24-for-42) during his eight-game hitting streak.

Even Blackmon is surprised how quickly he got back to raking.

“Hitting’s really hard,” Blackmon said. “For me, it seems like my feel for the game really leads to me feeling like a good baseball player. So, if I’m rusty or haven’t been playing for two weeks, usually that would limit my feel for the game.”

And after a wild four-game series this past weekend, during which San Diego and Colorado combined for 92 runs, Blackmon had only one word to describe how he felt physically when he arrived at the ballpark Tuesday: “Bad.”

“In terms of having an off-day yesterday, I felt worse today than I should have felt having had an off-day yesterday,” Blackmon said.

So, if this is Blackmon less than two weeks removed from the injured list and not feeling the usual benefits of a day off, things don’t point toward the three-time All-Star slowing down soon.

“Once he got off the [IL], it’s like he was better than he was before,” Arenado said. “It’s just amazing to watch. He puts a lot of work in, he does. That’s why when he does these things, I’m not surprised.”

Jake Rill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JakeDRill.