Stellar Marisnick boosts bottom of Astros' order

Nine-hitter leads offense, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a stolen base

Stellar Marisnick boosts bottom of Astros' order

ARLINGTON -- While Jose Altuve and George Springer have yet to get jump-started at the top of the Astros' batting order through four games, center fielder Jake Marisnick sparked the bottom Friday afternoon by going 3-for-3 with two RBIs, a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base.

Marisnick, who entered the game 0-for-4 through two games this season, led the charge for the bottom of the lineup, which went a combined 7-for-10 with four runs scored in the Astros' 5-1 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

"To be able to get out there as an offense as a whole and give our pitchers some run support after the way they've been throwing, that felt pretty good," Marisnick said.

Marisnick doubled home Jason Castro from first base in the fifth inning to give the Astros a 2-0 lead, and he stroked a two-out single to center in the seventh to score Robbie Grossman to increase the lead to 3-1. He singled and stole a base in the ninth.

Marisnick's RBI double

"He did a lot of damage," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He got pitches to hit and did damage with them, and I liked the stolen base at the end, too. He played a really complete game. This lineup, when things are clocking, we have a chance to have some length to it and guys contributing all the way down through the nine-hole. That's what we're looking for."

Castro, hitting in the seven-hole, went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, and Grossman was 2-for-3 with a run hitting behind him. Colby Rasmus replaced Grossman in left field and walloped a two-run homer in the ninth inning -- his first with the Astros.

Hinch likes Marisnick in the nine-hole because of his speed. If he gets on, he's a threat to steal, and that can cause leadoff hitter Jose Altuve to get more fastballs.

"I'm just trying to get things going for the big guys behind me and get on base for Altuve," Marisnick said. "You want to be able to run or make things happen and hopefully get those guys behind me more fastballs."

Marisnick's RBI double in the fifth came after Grossman had popped into a double play trying to bunt, which seemed to be a rally-killer at the time. His two-out single in the seventh inning was the Astros' only hit with runners in scoring position (1-for-7).

"I'm kind of sticking with the same approach and trying to get a good pitch, and they gave me something to hit and I was able to do a little something," Marisnick said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.