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Seattle Mariners

Ty France plays like an All-Star, leads Mariners over Texas 4-3

Ryan Divish Seattle Times

With one All-Star sitting in the dugout hoping his left sore wrist will allow him to play Tuesday, the Mariners’ other All-Star, who unwisely tried to play through a wrist strain last season to his own detriment, made sure the Mariners stopped a mini losing streak before it became something worse coming out of the All-Star break.

Ty France, the Mariners most consistent performer since the start of the season, had three hits, reached base four times, scored two runs, including a solo homer over the wall in the center field in the fifth inning, to lead the Mariners to a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers.

Using their seasonlong formula of a solid outing from the starting pitcher, lockdown relief work from the bullpen, outstanding defense and just enough timely hitting, the Mariners continued their dominance over their AL West foe. Seattle (52-45) has beaten Texas in nine of the 11 meetings this season and has a 22-8 record vs. the Rangers the past two seasons.

Starter Chris Flexen was solid if not spectacular; relievers Andres Munoz, Paul Sewald and Erik Swanson were outstanding; Adam Frazier, J.P. Crawford and France all made remarkable plays in the field to save runs or prevent base runners; and the offense was, well, enough to win.

While the Mariners have beaten the Rangers with regularity, they haven’t all been easy. Six have been decided by one run with Seattle prevailing in five of them.

It wasn’t supposed to be a one-run game. Diego Castillo came in with a 4-2 lead in the ninth. But with no slider command and minimal feel for his sinker, he gave up a solo homer to Nathaniel Lowe, allowed a single to Leody Taveras and walked Kole Calhoun. He managed to strike out Ezequiel Duran for the first out of the inning. But manager Scott Servais had seen enough. He went to Swanson, who got Josh Smith to pop out in foul territory and Marcus Semien to ground out to end the game.

The ever-competitive Flexen pitched six innings, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

The Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead against him in the third inning. Ezequiel Duran led off with a single and later scored on a wild pitch that Cal Raleigh couldn’t quite keep in front of him.

The Mariners took the lead in the fourth inning against Texas starter Glenn Otto.

France singled to right field for his second single in as many at-bats, hustled to third on Eugenio Suarez’s bloop single to right field and scored on Raleigh’s crisp line-drive single into right field to tie the game.

Adam Frazier followed with a single to load the bases, and Suarez made an aggressive read on a ball in the dirt that bounced off catcher Jonah Heim and back toward the infield grass. Suarez made an awkward headfirst slide into home to make it 2-1.

In the fifth inning, France continued to torment Otto. Down 1-2 in the count, he sat on a hanging slider and sent it over the wall in dead center for his 13th homer of the season and his 51st RBI.

The Mariners added a run in the seventh inning against the Rangers bullpen. Sam Haggerty led off with a single and later scored when Carlos Santana wouldn’t allow Texas to turn an inning-ending double play on his hard ground ball to third base. The 36-year-old Santana, who doesn’t look or move like his age, sprinted immediately out of the box and beat the throw to first easily, allowing the run to count.