DENVER -- Not only did Sunday's game mark the first time Padres pitcher Donn Roach started a Major League game, but it was also the first time since 2009 manager Bud Black had someone other than a position player hitting eighth in the lineup.
Roach hit eighth in the lineup in the final game of a three-game series against the Rockies -- and it was not because he entered the game with a sparkling 1.000 batting average (1-for-1) this season.
Alexi Amarista, getting a start for Chase Headley at third base, hit ninth.
Black explained that since Roach, normally a long reliever, was only likely to throw 60 or so pitches, having him hit eighth created the possibility where the Padres could pinch-hit for him one batter or one inning sooner, depending on the situation.
"With Roach going three [innings] or so, and it depends on pitch-count, that spot will come up before the ninth spot," Black said. "With a short starter, you're able to use a pinch-hitter sooner."
This isn't the first time Black has done this.
During a three-game series against the A's on June 19-21, 2009, starting pitchers Kevin Correia, Walter Silva and Wade LeBlanc also hit eighth. The No. 9 hitter in that series was Everth Cabrera, who hit in the leadoff spot Sunday.
The Padres' bench sets up pretty well for Sunday, especially with Headley available to pinch-hit if it's needed.