His older brother imagined the scene in the bullpen at Comerica Park Monday night: “Hey, Furbush, you’re in.”

Charlie Furbush, wearing No. 49, ran to the mound to make his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers, setting off a long-awaited celebration in South Portland where he first picked up a baseball.

His outing was the stuff of rookie legend: Furbush, relieving injured starter Phil Coke, earned the win with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I called him (Monday) night,” said Jon Furbush, Charlie’s older brother and the men’s basketball coach at Bates College. “They were spraying champagne all over him in the locker room.

“It means a lot. When he was a kid and I was the older brother, we never used to let him play with us. He wasn’t good enough. We kind of picked on him and he was so motivated to get better.

“He’s never been complacent at any level. To see how much he’s matured he’s come such a long way.”

Furbush came in with runners on first and third and just one out. He walked his first batter, loading the bases, then struck out the next two to get out of the inning. He went on to give up two hits, but no runs.

Jon Furbush, who was returning from a recruiting trip, watched on his cell phone on the Major League Baseball television application he just purchased after his brother was called up to Detroit from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday morning.

“It was probably the best thing that could’ve happened, to not have 10 minutes to warm up,” Jon Furbush said. “(Coke) went down, they say, ‘Hey, Furbush, you’re in.’

“He just went in there and did what he does. I thought it was great. It immediately tested his character and maturity.”

His dad, Craig Furbush, watched on TV with youngest son Will. Jon Furbush joined them for the end of the game.

“It was quite a moment to sort of live through,” said Craig Furbush, a schoolteacher in South Portland. “The injury to Coke didn’t look like the sort of thing he’d have to leave the ballgame for.

“The TV camera flashed to the bullpen and you could see Charlie’s head bobbing. When the door opened and he stepped out into center field, I turned to Will and said, ‘Oh no.’

“I thought it would’ve been one of the hardest things for Charlie to do. His major league debut in these circumstances? No warm-up, runners on first and third, one out?”

When Furbush walked the first batter on a 3-2 pitch, his family thought it was a strikeout.

“Will and I just about fell off the couch when the umpire said it was ball four,” said Craig Furbush. “But he struck out the next two guys.

“It was a very memorable night, a very memorable debut. That’s all we wanted, to see his debut.”

Furbush, a 6-foot-5 left-hander, was no magnet for Division I college recruiters after his career at South Portland High. St. Joseph’s Coach Will Sanborn recruited him to play for his Division III program.

Furbush developed his slider and change-up to add to his fastball, and he pitched a summer in the Cape Cod League, where he drew enough attention to transfer to Louisiana State University for his junior season.

Following his junior year — his only year at LSU — Furbush was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 2007.

“Who the heck goes to St. Joe’s and thinks they’re going to come out and be a major league baseball player?” said Andrew Wood, Furbush’s longtime friend, roommate and catcher at St. Joseph’s. “It was just unbelievable sitting there and seeing your best friend come across the screen. You’re trying to feel how he feels that stuff doesn’t get to him.”

Wood, who caught for Furbush since they were 8-year-olds, spoke to his friend Tuesday afternoon to relive the moment.

“He said he had no time to warm up, ran out on the field,” said Wood. “He said he didn’t want to hold up the game so he took about seven warm-up pitches and was like, ‘All right, let’s go.’ “

The headline in the Detroit News read: “Rookie Charlie Furbush stellar in relief, Tigers beat Rays.”

Kevin Rand of Cape Elizabeth, the Tigers’ head athletic trainer, said he was inside the clubhouse with Coke when Furbush first took the mound.

The two had talked considerably at spring training, but didn’t get to talk Monday night.

“I’m sure his heart was pounding pretty good. After all, it’s his major league debut,” said Rand, who is in his 19th major league season. “Sometimes that’s not a bad way he was in the bullpen relaxing and all of a sudden he’s getting called into the game because of an injury.

“He did a great job. He got out of a bases-loaded situation, pitched well and did a nice job. I was very pleased for him.”

Furbush has spent the last four summers in the Tigers’ farm system, taking a year off to recover from Tommy John elbow surgery in 2008.

He originally was projected to be called up when the Tigers needed a left-handed starter. He was 4-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings for Toledo when he was called up to replace reliever Brad Thomas, who went on the 15-day DL.

Tuesday, Furbush’s first Tigers box score read: Win — Furbush, 1-0.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: Twitter.com/JennMenendez