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On familiar turf, Blair's first hit a homer

A's catcher grew up going to Rangers games in Arlington

ARLINGTON -- Less than two weeks after Carson Blair's long and winding path to the big leagues came to be, the A's catcher celebrated his first Major League hit in the most fitting way.

Making just his second career start Sunday afternoon in the A's 12-4 loss to the Rangers in Arlington, Blair sat behind the plate with a picturesque view of the ballpark he frequented as a youngster and capped the day with a seventh-inning home run for his first career hit.

"This is where we'd come watch baseball games growing up, so to actually get to play on this field was pretty cool," Blair said. "In a 13-month span, I went from High A to here, playing where I grew up watching Rangers greats. This has all meant a lot. I'm sure I'll soak that whole process up later, but it's been pretty great."

Simply soaking up the grandeur of his first hit proved surreal for Blair, who experienced a slew of emotions from the time he stepped out of the batter's box to when he made his way back into the visitors' dugout.

Dozens of family and friends watched from the stands.

"To be honest, when I hit it and got to first it felt like every one I've hit in the Minor Leagues, and then I got to second base and realized, 'Oh, that's kind of cool. That's pretty special,'" Blair said. "Especially to do it at home, where I grew up, watching Rangers games, that's probably the coolest part about it. But when you're getting your butt kicked like that, it's not that enjoyable, so I didn't really think about it until I was on the way home."

His teammates gave him the silent treatment, which Blair translated as frustration over a disappointing game.

"I thought, 'Well, we're getting out butt kicked and no one is excited right now,'" he said. "Then they all came over and congratulated me and shook my hand. That part was really cool."

The 25-year-old Blair, who came up from Triple-A Nashville on Sept. 1, began the season at Double-A. Before that, he had just 17 appearances above Class A under his belt -- all of them with the Red Sox, who selected him in the 35th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

"It's a great story, and any time a guy gets his first hit, let alone his first hit being a home run, it's always special," manager Bob Melvin said. "They certainly got to have a little fun with him in the dugout."

• A's reliever Edward Mujica exited Sunday's game in the fifth inning after suffering a right hamstring strain while covering first base. Melvin said the veteran righty will be re-evaluated Monday in Chicago.

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.
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