Martin, back in leadoff spot, gets offense rolling early

Martin, back in leadoff spot, gets offense rolling early

SEATTLE -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister said before Friday's game he was thrilled with what he was getting from Prince Fielder.

"The bottom line is we've got to get guys on in front of him," Banister said.

Leonys Martin did just that in the Rangers' 3-1 victory over the Mariners as he returned to the leadoff spot for the first time in three games.

Martin led off the first inning with a walk against Mariners left-hander J.A. Happ. After Elvis Andrus struck out, Fielder grounded a double down the left field line -- again beating the opponent's defensive shift -- and Martin came around to score.

"The leadoff walk was big," Banister said. "That's what we're talking about, the capability of getting on base early and pushing a run across early. It's nice to have guys on base when the guys in the middle of the lineup are swinging the bat."

Martin had never faced Happ before.

"When you have that, you try to see as many pitches as you can so you can have as much information as you can," Martin said.

Martin entered the game with a .143 batting average and .182 on-base percentage. Rangers leadoff hitters entered the game with a .188 on-base percentage, which was the second lowest in the American League.

Martin was the Rangers leadoff hitter for the first eight games, then got moved down in the order on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Angels. He was back on Friday.

"He told me he was going to give me a couple of days to figure out my approach and get my timing down," Martin said. "He gave me a couple of days and it helped."

Martin also had a third-inning single although he was thrown out trying to steal. He finished the night 1-for-3. Fielder was 2-for-3 and is now hitting .419 after 11 games.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.