ARLINGTON, Texas – Eduardo Rodriguez 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 lefthander.
Rodriguez threw 7⅔ 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.
“I wasn’t nervous after the first couple of pitches,” Rodriguez 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, Rodriguez 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.
Rodriguez said he never thought about who he was pitching to while facing a Rangers lineup with sluggers such as 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 Rodriguez 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 reacquired 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.”
Rodriguez struck out seven and walked two.