Five balls went out of the ballpark thanks to Milwaukee Brewers rookie Rafael Roque: the three homers he surrendered and the two he kept to commemorate his first major league hit and his first big league win.
"It was exciting to get my first major league hit, and then to get my first major league win felt even better," Roque, a native of the Dominican Republic, said in Spanish after the Brewers' 8-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
Roque (1-1) gave up seven hits in 5 1-3 innings, including solo homers to Quilvio Veras, Greg Vaughn and Ruben Rivera.
Vaughn, who played in Milwaukee from 1989-96, broke Ken Caminiti's club record with his 41st homer.
"I'm sure it was nice for him to set the record here," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've said all year, we don't know where we'd be without him."
But the Brewers got three big hits and from unlikely sources of their own: a 434-foot homer by rookie Bobby Hughes, a two-run triple by rookie Geoff Jenkins and a three-run homer by backup Bob Hamelin.
"I can't remember the last time we had a three-run homer," Brewers manager Phil Garner said. "I can't remember the last time we had a triple."
The Brewers' last triple belonged to Hughes and it came on July 19, and their last three-run shot was off the bat of Jeromy Burnitz on Aug. 1.
But it seemed like a lifetime to Garner, whose team has struggled all year at the plate even as a patchwork pitching staff exceeded expectations.
Vaughn's homer, a solo shot in the third, put San Diego ahead 2-1 and surpassed Caminiti's team record set two years ago.
"It would have meant a lot more if we would have won the game," said Vaughn, whose diehard fans brought out a mothballed "Vaughn's Valley" banner for their hero's return.
"It made me feel good to see that," said Vaughn, who even got the historic ball back from the fan who caught it.
"It was a nice exchange," Vaughn said. "I got the ball and gave the guy a Ken Caminiti bat I can't spare any of mine."
The lead didn't hold, however.
The Brewers, who tagged Mark Langston (4-6) for five runs on 11 hits in four-plus innings, tied it at 2 on Burnitz's second RBI single in the third. Hughes' seventh homer put Milwaukee ahead for good, 3-2, in the fourth.
Jenkins' first career triple made it 5-2 and chased Langston with none out in the fifth.
Roque left with one out in the sixth, after Rivera's homer and a single by Carlos Hernandez.
Hughes said the true barometer of Roque's performance was that the long balls didn't rattle him.
"I don't think anybody can say that Raffy showed any kind of emotion like he was defeated after he gave up a homer," Hughes said. "H just got back up on the hill, got another ball and just started chucking away."
Reliever Eric Plunk walked a batter and gave up an infield single to pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney, loading the bases. But Veras, who homered leading off the game, bounced into a double play to end the seventh.
Hamelin's three-run homer off Scott Sanders in the bottom half turned the tenuous two-run lead into a laugher, and Bob Wickman got two outs for his 21st save.
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