France and Urías hit 2-run HRs as Mariners beat Texas 4-3 to take series and top spot in AL West

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ty France and the Seattle Mariners never left Texas with a win last season. In their first trip to the Rangers' ballpark this year, they took the series and first place in the AL West from the reigning World Series champions

France and Urías hit two-run homers and Luis Castillo pitched six solid innings in a 4-3 win Thursday to take two of three in a stadium where the Mariners had lost eight games in a row, including all six last season.

“It's nice to get off to a good start here. Historically, last year, it was a tough go for us. But get a couple wins under our belt here, it’s a nice way to start the year,” France said. “We don't have to prove anything, we're a good baseball team.”

Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Smith hit solo homers for Texas (13-13), which had been first in the division all season until the Mariners (13-12) took the series opener. The Rangers went back on top by a half-game with a 5-1 win Wednesday.

“We’re playing better baseball, and and really relying on everybody,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team has won three series in a row. "Need everybody to chip in until we get this offense really clicking.”

Julio Rodríguez, batting first after shortstop J.P. Crawford went on the injured list with a right oblique strain, led off the game with a single and scored when France went the opposite way for his first homer this season.

Andrew Heaney (0-3) retired the next 10 batters after France that until Dylan Moore, at shortstop in place of Crawford, led off the fifth with a double. Urías then went deep to break a 2-2 tie.

Castillo (2-4) struck out six and walked two while allowing two runs and four hits. Andrés Muñoz, the third Seattle reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his third save in four chances.

Heaney also went six innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks. But the left-hander gave up the four runs on the two long balls.

“I thought he threw the ball well, really well,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “He could have come out better, a couple of balls they got up and hit a couple of two-run homers. But no walks.”

Rangers shortstop Corey Seager was the designated hitter after leaving Wednesday night's game with a bruised left shin from getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

There were runners at first and third with two outs in the seventh Thursday, right after Marcus Semien's RBI single cut the deficit to 4-3, when Seager struck out trying to check his swing on a high pitch. The World Series MVP is hitless in his last 16 at-bats, part of a bigger 5-for-51 (.098) slide over 14 games to drop his season batting average from .301 to .247.

HIGHLIGHT CATCH

Texas had a runner at third with one out in the second inning when second baseman Jorge Polanco made a running, over-the-shoulder grab in shallow center field on a broken-bat soft flare hit by Ezequiel Durán.

RANGERS HURLERS

Texas starting pitchers have recorded seven strikeouts in four consecutive games, the team's longest such streak since six in a row in September 2011. ... Rangers relievers have 13 consecutive scoreless innings since Sunday at Atlanta. Rookie Cole Winn struck out four in his two scoreless innings Thursday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: Crawford went on the 10-day IL after tweaking his right oblique during batting practice Wednesday. INF Leo Rivas was brought up from Triple-A Tacoma and RHP Gregory Santos (right lat) transferred from the 15-day to 60-day injured list.

Rangers: RHP Josh Sborz was activated from the 15-day IL after missing 17 games with a right rotator cuff strain, and pitched a perfect ninth. RHP Grant Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

UP NEXT

Mariners: Play their fifth National League team already this season in the opener of a three-game series at home against Arizona on Friday night. Their 12 interleague games so far are most in the majors.

Rangers: Open a three-game series against Cincinnati with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 3.30 ERA) starting Friday night.

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