The rookie, Eduardo Rodríguez, went to bed and dreamed about his major league debut after the Boston Red Sox arrived in Texas.
The real thing Thursday night was even better for the 22-year-old left-hander from Venezuela.
Rodríguez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings to become the youngest Red Sox starter to win in his major league debut on the road since 1967, and Boston beat the Rangers 5-1 to spoil Josh Hamilton's first home game back in Texas on Thursday night.
"I wasn't nervous after the first couple of pitches," Rodríguez said. "I went out and saw the lights and saw the stadium, and said, 'This is what it's like.'"
Already the youngest Red Sox pitcher to make his MLB debut on the road since 21-year-old Roger Clemens in 1985, Rodríguez became the youngest since Billy Rohr was 21 when winning his debut at the New York Yankees on April 14, 1967.
"He was outstanding. Very impressive, he was poised," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak.
Rodríguez said he never thought about who he was pitching to while facing a Rangers lineup with sluggers like Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Hamilton in his homecoming.
Hamilton was 2-for-4, lining a double into the right-field corner on the first pitch he saw from Rodríguez in the second inning. He added an RBI single in the ninth, on another sharply hit ball to right, to end Boston's shutout bid.
Back in Texas a month and a day after being re-acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, the 2010 AL MVP had gone 1-for-11 in his first three games after reuniting with the team Monday in Cleveland.
"It'll be a game I'll remember forever," said Hamilton, who got a loud ovation when he came to bat for the first time. "It just makes you feel good, I hope the fans know that I'm giving them everything I've got being back, just like I did when I was here before."
Rodríguez (1-0) struck out seven and walked two, leaving the game with two runners on base in the eighth before Tommy Layne got Shin-Soo Choo on a called third strike.
Boston went ahead to stay when Mookie Betts had an RBI single in the fifth off Nick Martinez (4-1). Hanley Ramirez, who was the designated hitter with slumping slugger David Ortiz getting a night off, led off the sixth with his 11th homer of the season to make it 2-0.
Martinez struck out five and walked two while scattering nine hits over seven innings. The righty allowed two runs.
Boston added three runs in the eighth, including Blake Swihart's two-run single after two walks and a hit batsman the previous three batters.
Farrell indicated before the game that Ortiz could get several days off, giving him a chance to work on some things. Ortiz had one hit in 20 at-bats his previous five games, and is hitting .216 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 43 games this season.