From behind the plate, catcher Austin Hedges, who has caught Rea in the Minor Leagues, didn't see a pitcher teetering on the brink of caving in.
"Knowing Colin for four or five years now, I couldn't tell a difference if he was pitching in a low-A game, a Double-A game or a big league game. He was out there poised and competing," Hedges said.
Pitching in front of more than 75 members of his family -- and extended family, plus friends -- who made the long trip to San Diego from Cascade, Iowa., Rea didn't buckle in a tough spot.
He got Joey Votto to roll a ball back to the mound, beginning a 1-6-3 double play, escaping the inning unscathed.
"A lot of credit has to go to Hedges. He had great control behind the plate. He did a great job calling pitches. Right there for the double play, luckily I was able to get my glove up in time to snag it," Rea said. "Obviously, a little nervous to start the game, but thought I settled in pretty good and jumped to an early lead."
It only got better from there -- and not just because the Padres backed him with all 11 of their runs by the end of the third inning, either.
Rea, leading off the second inning, singled to left field off Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen. He later scored a run as part of a five-run, second inning.
"I was up there kind of taking until I got a strike. Luckily, I got one. That was pretty much the only spot where I was going to touch the ball, and luckily it just got over the shortstop's head," Rea said.
Rea became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to get a hit in his first career plate appearance and the first since Tim Stauffer did so against the Reds on May 11, 2005. Doug Brocail (1992) and Jimmy Jones (1986) also accomplished the feat.
Not a bad debut at all, said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy.
"I think he showed incredible poise, real happy for the young man," Murphy said. "I have known him for a while. To see him come through just the way he did, it's a great moment."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.