BOSTON -- Garin Cecchini knew he was being demoted to Triple A Pawtucket after helping the Red Sox beat the Rays on Sunday, 4-0. Still he couldn't stop smiling in his postgame meeting with reporters inside the team clubhouse.
"Unbelievable experience," he said. "It's a dream come true. Kind of speechless."
The franchise's top third-base prospect recorded his first big-league hit and RBI in the seventh inning. He also made good on a risky bid in the eighth inning to keep the Rays off the scoreboard when they had runners on first and second with no outs.
Cecchini entered the game in unusual fashion after Dustin Pedroia was ejected before the top of the fourth inning by home plate umpire DJ Reyburn for arguing balls and strikes.
Though it was an unconventional start to his big-league career, Cecchini was ready for it.
Cecchini got a call Saturday night telling him to be at Fenway Park on Sunday morning to be ready for his first big-league game. He arrived at about 7:30 a.m. -- six hours before first pitch -- before any of his teammates or coaches.
"Just sat here and just kind of took it all in," he said. "Went and saw the field, ate breakfast, kept eating breakfast, and ate breakfast again so I think just kind of to waste time."
Any excited nerves he may have had didn't show. Cecchini swung aggressively, fouling off a couple of pitches from Rays lefty Erik Bedard in his first at-bat before he was called out looking at a third strike.
In his second at-bat Cecchini doubled to left field, scoring Brock Holt. When he reached second base, he enthusiastically clapped his hands together with the insurance run in and his first hit as a major leaguer in the books.
"When you come up here, when anyone comes up here, you're expected to help the team win," Cecchini said, "so that's the biggest thing."
The hit made Cecchini and Alex Hassan, who singled in the fourth and scored a run, the first two Red Sox rookies to get their first big-league hit in the same game since Steve Dillard and Andy Merchant did it on September 28, 1975.
Cecchini will head back to Triple A Pawtucket to make room for shortstop Stephen Drew to be promoted. Drew will join the team before its game in Cleveland on Monday.
"The numbers don't add up," Cecchini said. "I understand the business of this game, I'm happy for this team. They're gonna keep winning. I'm gonna get my shot again and I'm gonna contribute to win."
All the while, the player that manager John Farrell calls a "breath of fresh air" will be smiling.
"I'm living the dream," he said. "Even if I'm in Triple A, I'm living the dream. I'm playing baseball for a living so this is great."