By Schuyler Dixon / Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas — Julio Rodríguez and Ty France are headed to the All-Star Game, so they won’t be among the Seattle Mariners getting the break their manager says they need.
Yeah, Scott Servais knows that time off thing sounds a little funny.
“It’s hard to say you need a break when you win 14 games in a row,” the Seattle skipper said after a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Rodríguez hit a two-run double and France homered after joining the rookie sensation on the AL team as the Mariners moved closer to the team record of 15 consecutive wins. That streak came during their most recent playoff season in 2001, when they went 116-46.
The 14-game winning streak is the longest going into an All-Star break in major league history.
“That’s a tough one,” France said. “I think it’ll be good for us to kind of let our bodies recover. There’s a lot of guys in that locker room, they play every day, they’re playing hurt, they’re playing banged up. These next couple of days will be good for them and hopefully we can just keep that rolling.”
Cal Raleigh’s two-run homer put the Mariners ahead for good in the fourth inning as they matched reigning World Series champion Atlanta’s June streak for the longest this season. St. Louis had a 17-game winning string last year.
Rodríguez, who wasn’t even six months old the last time the Mariners were on a streak this long 21 years ago, lined a double off the wall in left-center field in the seventh, then raced home on France’s single for a 6-1 lead.
The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic was barely hitting .200 and didn’t have any of his 16 homers on May 1. Now Rodríguez is the first rookie All-Star for the Mariners since Ichiro Suzuki in — yeah, you guessed it — 2001.
“This is a stretch we’re in, I don’t think anybody will ever forget it,” Servais said. “But what a way to end the first half.”
Raleigh pulled a two-out, two-run homer down the line in right field for his 13th homer, erasing a 1-0 deficit as the Mariners won for the 22nd time in 25 games and swept a fourth consecutive series for the first time since 2001.
France’s solo shot in the fifth, his 11th homer, came a couple of hours after the first baseman was added to the American League All-Star team. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was sidelined by back spasms for Tuesday’s game at Dodger Stadium.
“It had kind of gotten to the point where that kind of hope was out the window,” said France, whose two hits boosted his average to .308. “I was getting ready for the game, and it all went down.”
Servais said the addition of France was overdue as one of the last replacements, but both agreed better late than never. Plus, Rodríguez, who declined to talk to reporters after the game, has company.
“Julio said he needed someone to babysit him,” Servais said. “So Ty will have his work cut out for him.”
Marcus Semien’s 12th homer, a solo drive, put Texas ahead in the third before the Rangers were swept in a four-game series for the first time this year while matching their season worst at eight games under .500 (41-49).
“We need a few days off, kind of collect our thoughts,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Let our bodies rest a little bit. The guys are tired. They were fighting to the end.”
With Seattle leading 2-1 in the fourth, reliever Ryan Borucki (2-0) walked his first two batters to load the bases with two outs before getting rookie leadoff hitter Josh Smith on a groundout. The left-hander retired Semien, All-Star Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe in order in the fifth.
Texas starter Glenn Otto (4-6) dropped to 0-4 in five starts since spending 15 days on the COVID-19 list. The right-hander stayed in after getting hit on the right side and arm by the barrel of Eugenio Suárez’s broken bat in the second, allowing three runs in six innings.
Mariners right-hander Chris Flexen gave up a run in 3.2 innings after starting on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. Paul Sewald, the last of six Seattle pitchers, worked a scoreless ninth after a leadoff walk.
After the All-Star break, Seattle has a six-game homestand against the Texas teams. AL West-leading Houston visits first starting Friday. Servais said LHP Marco Gonzales was the likely starter.
The Rangers play at Miami on Thursday in a makeup game from the delayed start of the season, then go to Oakland. RHP Jon Gray, the opening day starter, is expected to face the Marlins.