Blackmon catches fire in Tulsa

Charlie Blackmon, whose season got off to a late start because of hamstring problems, has certainly made up for lost time.

One of the hottest hitters in the minor leagues, the former North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech standout had three four-hit games over a 12-day stretch with Tulsa of the Class AA Texas League.

The Colorado Rockies prospect started his red-hot streak by smashing a pair of three-run homers and going 4-for-6 with the six RBIs on Aug. 5. Then he had a 4-for-4 game with two doubles on Aug. 14, followed by another 4-for-4 game with a triple Thursday.

Going into the weekend, Blackmon's average was up to .302 and he had 15 hits in 21 at-bats over the five games. It's hard to be any hotter than that.

Blackmon went into the season ranked as the Rockies' 12th best prospect by Baseball America after hitting .307 and stealing 37 bases for Modesto of the Class A Advanced California League a year ago.

But the center fielder twice suffered hamstring strains during the spring and didn't make his Class AA debut with Tulsa until the end of May.

"I missed two months and it took me a while to get comfortable," said Blackmon, taken in the second round of the 2008 draft by Colorado. "I was rusty."

He certainly isn't now.

Blackmon, 24, hit .394 in the first 16 games of August. For the season, he had 18 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 46 RBIs in 68 games while stealing 18 bases in 24 attempts.

With Blackmon a big reason for the turnaround, Tulsa went into the weekend with a 30-23 record for the second half after finishing the first half 29-40.

Even when the Drillers weren't winning, fans had been flocking to new OneOK Field in downtown Tulsa and the team has already set an attendance record.

"The fans are great and the ballpark is beautiful," Blackmon said. "It's the best I've played in."