Marisnick sparks Astros with HR, not glove

Marisnick sparks Astros with HR, not glove

HOUSTON -- If Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick could hit Major League pitching on a consistent basis, the defensive specialist would get more playing time.

On Sunday, he connected for a home run -- although far from a crushing blow -- off one of the elite relievers in baseball -- Royals closer Kelvin Herrera. Marisnick's ninth-inning jack forced extra innings en route to a 5-4 walk-off win in 12 innings as the Astros snapped a three-game losing streak.

According to Brooks Baseball, Marisnick is the first player to hit a home run off Herrera's slider.

"I was just looking for a good pitch, looking to get on base," Marisnick said. "He happened to leave one up and I put a good swing on it.

"I got just enough of it and we were fired up. It sparked us. We got something good going there."

According to Statcast™, Marisnick's homer was projected to travel 331 feet from the plate, the shortest in MLB this season and the second shortest by an Astros hitter in the Statcast™ era. Colby Rasmus hit a 327-foot homer on Sept. 26, 2016.

The homer by Marisnick had a 100.0 exit velocity and 26 degree angle. There was a 65 percent hit probability and a homer 40 percent of the time. Marisnick came into the game in the top of the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in center field. One inning later, he was being mobbed in the dugout by his teammates after his one-out home run got the Astros back into the game.

"The Marisnick homer was huge," said Evan Gattis, who had two hits, and the last of his three walks was the game-winner as Matt Strahm's last pitch with the bases loaded was high, bringing in George Springer with the winning run. "It breathed life back into us."

The homer was Marisnick's first of the season. Marisnick, who is batting .222 this season, doesn't hit many homers. But his last two home runs have come in the ninth inning. His previous homer was on Sept. 3, 2016 at Texas.

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