HOUSTON -- Going into the series finale vs. the Twins, Norichika Aoki and Jake Marisnick had combined to go 6-for-32 in July, providing little offense when the opportunity arose.That, though, was before Sunday.With their three combined hits, Aoki and Marisnick knocked three RBIs from the eighth and ninth spots of
HOUSTON -- Going into the series finale vs. the Twins, Norichika Aoki and Jake Marisnick had combined to go 6-for-32 in July, providing little offense when the opportunity arose.
That, though, was before Sunday.
With their three combined hits, Aoki and Marisnick knocked three RBIs from the eighth and ninth spots of the order in the Astros' series-clinching 5-3 win over the Twins at Minute Maid Park.
On a night when Astros RBI leader Carlos Correa (66) was absent, given a day of rest; slugging All-Star George Springer went 0-for-3; and Jose Altuve -- who leads the American League in hits, with 121 -- provided no RBIs (but had two hits), the Astros relied on the duo at the bottom of their order.
And the duo made the win possible.
"It's good for us to put together good at-bats down there, and kind of flip the lineup over for some of these guys that are having the season that they're having," Marisnick said. "The better at-bats we put together down there, the more success we're going to have at the top and throughout the whole lineup."
"It's good for our team," said manager A.J. Hinch. "These guys need to play. They don't get talked about a ton because of how good our main guys have been. These guys are better than role players, but they're providing roles for us."
Neither Aoki nor Marisnick, infrequently used in the outfield, played in more than 67 games this season before Aoki sent two hits into the outfield with a single and that RBI double. Marisnick manufactured another run in the seventh inning, scoring on a throwing error.
"We've got a complete team on the offensive side," Hinch said. "It's good for us to have guys who aren't talked about a lot to perform and contribute. It was their turn to carry the team."
They did, and the Astros prevailed -- with catcher Evan Gattis, nine-time All-Star Carlos Beltran and All-Star Correa on the bench.
"We didn't use any of them and still won a game," Hinch said.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.