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Felix hurls 23rd perfect game in MLB history

The Mariners' recent tear has been best reflected by the summer performance of their ace.

Perfect game aside, Felix Hernandez, who will take the hill when Seattle opens a four-game set in Minneapolis on Monday, has dazzled for two months. In his last 13 outings, the right-hander is 8-0 with a 1.53 ERA, limiting opposing hitters to a .184 batting average.

Hernandez, though, is more encouraged by the play of the entire team, which has spun a 25-16 record since the All-Star break.

"We're playing the right way," Hernandez said. "We're playing good games, the defense is doing its job and it makes you more comfortable out there on the mound. I'm seeing everything ... offense, defense, pitching. We're playing pretty good right now and we've got to continue doing that."

Wins have come easy for Hernandez of late. The same cannot be said for Twins hurler Liam Hendriks, who will also toe the rubber on Monday.

The Australian righty is 0-6 with a 7.06 ERA. In his first Major League start in more than seven weeks, the 23-year-old yielded four runs on six hits in five innings of a 5-1 loss to Oakland on Wednesday.

"It wasn't exactly how I wanted it to go," Hendriks said. "But I made some good pitches and they had some hits on pitches that were down. They also had some hits on bad pitches, but there were a couple that weren't crushed or hit that well. So I just have to remember I was decent and that I need to remember what I figured out during the game with my mechanics."

Mariners: Ackley finding his groove

Second baseman Dustin Ackley has hit .323 (20-for-62) over his past 15 games, raising his average from .222 to .235 as he continues to work his way back from a difficult first half.

"It's as good a stretch as he's had, just with different types of hits and different types of pitchers he's faced, home and road," manager Eric Wedge said. "All of those things matter to me. It's a single to left field, it's a double to left-center or even the long outs he had, those are all good indicators to me."

Twins: Span not expected to miss more time
Denard Span was atop Minnesota's batting order Sunday for the second straight day. He missed Friday's game and might not be at full strength down the stretch after missing nine games recently with a collarbone injury.

"I'm going to print Span at the top of the lineup, and if he can't play, he's going to have to come in and tell me the rest of the way," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

• The next time Joe Mauer crouches behind the plate, he will break Earl Battey's franchise record for games caught.

Mauer played first base on Sunday so Justin Morneau could get a game at designated hitter.

Worth noting
• The Mariners are 5-1 against the Twins this season, having outscored Minnesota, 27-11.

• The Mariners are 12-10 in August after posting a 15-11 mark in July.

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