Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies left Saturday night’s 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning with back tightness.
Blackmon, who had gone 0-for-3 with a walk through the game’s first eight frames, stepped into the box in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the ninth with no outs and runners on first and second. The All-Star center fielder attempted to lay down a bunt, but popped it up to Atlanta third baseman Ryan Flaherty. The Rockies did not score in the frame but would eventually win on a Tony Wolters walk-off walk in the 10th.
After the Rockies didn’t score in the ninth inning, Mike Tauchman replaced Blackmon in the outfield.
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The attempted bunt in the ninth inning surprised some Rockies fans but manager Bud Black explained the situation after the game.
"“When the game started, his back started getting a little tight,” Black told Rox Pile and other reporters after the game. “Charlie, being the gamer that he is, grinded through a progressively tightening back all throughout the game. When we got to that situation in the ninth, I didn’t want him to swing with a bad back. I thought he would be able to square away and put the bunt down. At that moment, that was our best option to advance the runner and get to DJ (LeMahieu) and Nolan (Arenado) and potentially CarGo (Carlos Gonzalez).”"
Blackmon discussed the early exit after the game, describing it as a spasm.
"“It was a little bit tight most of the game,” Blackmon, who mentioned he had dealt with back tightness in the past, told Rox Pile and other media members inside the Rockies clubhouse. “Usually it’s pretty manageable. It’s not something that’s new. It’s not something I would consider an injury. It’s more of a spasm situation.”"
Blackmon said the tightness in his back didn’t affect him at the plate, including in the bunt situation in the ninth inning.
Colorado and Atlanta will play the final game of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. Blackmon’s availability for the contest will be determined Sunday morning.