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Roach punctuates big night with first knock

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Roach punctuates big night with first knock play video for Roach punctuates big night with first knock

SAN FRANCISCO -- Padres right-hander Donn Roach didn't wait long to get his first hit. In fact, he slapped the first pitch he saw as a big league batter into the right-field gap for a double during Tuesday night's 6-0 loss to the Giants.

A day later, his teammates are still making him wait to get his hands on the prized baseball.

"We have it," Roach said with a laugh. "I haven't seen it yet, but it's somewhere."

While Roach's hit was certainly memorable, it was his strong work in relief that had manager Bud Black beaming after the game. The 24-year-old allowed an unearned run on two hits in a career-high 4 1/3 innings, lowering his season ERA to 2.84 in 12 2/3 innings across seven appearances.

Above all, Black was happy that his top-notch bullpen didn't get worn down despite starter Eric Stults' inability to get through the third inning.

"Donn was a savior, no doubt about it," Black said Tuesday night. "This game really could have got out of hand. We really could have used a lot of bullpen arms if things got tough for Donn. The state of any bullpen is so critical as far as frequency and keeping guys as fresh as possible. Donn did a great job in circumstances where he hasn't pitched a lot. To ask him to go four-plus innings and be as efficient as he was, it was a huge lift for our 'pen."

Despite spending the past two seasons as a starter in the Padres' and Angels' farm systems, Roach has been able to acclimate to his role as a long man.

"It's a learning process," Roach said. "It's rough sometimes, but you do your work on the side and hopefully it shows up."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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