Cruz homer sparks Mariners to 6-1 win over Rangers

SEATTLE (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit a two-run home run to back another effective start by Wade LeBlanc, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 6-1 Thursday night.

Dee Gordon, back from a stay on the 10-day DL caused by a fractured right big toe, led off the game against Rangers starter Mike Minor (4-4) with a triple and scored on Jean Segura‘s sacrifice fly.

Cruz then padded the Mariners’ lead in the third. After Segura hit a one-out double and moved to third on Mitch Haniger‘s grounder, Cruz hit his 10th homer of the season to left-center field, a 399-foot shot that gave Seattle a 3-0 cushion.

LeBlanc (1-0), the journeyman left-hander filling in for injured Erasmo Ramirez, continued his brilliant early season work, giving up one run and four hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked two.

The only blemish against him was a solo homer by Nomar Mazara, the Rangers’ outfielder’s 13th of the season, which led off the fourth.

James Pazos, Juan Nicasio and Chasen Bradford combined to finish with four scoreless innings.

The Mariners scored twice in the fifth on a throwing error by Texas third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a fielder’s choice by Haniger., and Cruz’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.

Ryon Healy added an RBI single in the seventh to cap the scoring.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre returned from the disabled list and singled twice to move past Cap Anson for 22nd place on baseball’s all-time hits list with 3,082.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: Manager Jeff Banister said Beltre would split time between DH and third base for the time being. Beltre batted in the cleanup spot on Thursday.

Mariners: With the return of Gordon, the Mariners decided to option infielder Gordon Beckham to Triple-A Tacoma and keep utility man Andrew Romine on the active roster. Manager Scott Servais said Romine’s versatility and experience at more positions in the field gave Romine the nod.

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Texas heads to Anaheim for a weekend series vs. the Angels. Veteran RHP Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.55 ERA) starts Friday’s game against Angels RHP Jaime Barria (4-1, 2.97 ERA).

Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (5-3, 4.93 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday’s opener for against Tampa Bay RHP Sergio Romo (1-1, 6.33 ERA).