The last time the Mariners were in Detroit marked, at least to this point, the point in which their season drastically turned around.

Beginning with Seattle's three-game sweep of the Tigers from April 26-28, the Mariners are 25-16. In the second game of the four-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Comerica Park, the Mariners look to continue that stretch of successful play when left-hander Erik Bedard (3-4, 3.46 ERA) faces Detroit's Brad Penny (5-4, 4.76).

"I like our guys. I enjoy being around this group. It's been fun watching these guys figure it out," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "They come to play every day, they're good teammates, they show respect for the game and they're working hard to get better. It's been fun."

The first thing Wedge mentioned when asked to elaborate on what he likes about his team was pitching. No doubt one guy he was thinking of was Bedard, who has posted six quality starts in his last seven outings. The lefty is 1-1 against the Tigers this year, with the victory coming as part of that April stretch at Comerica Park in which he tossed seven innings of one-run ball.

"Our starting pitching has been tremendous and it always starts there. And our bullpen has been very consistent," Wedge said. "We're starting to show signs offensively, albeit a little inconsistently. If we can put it all together, we've got a chance to be a pretty good ballclub."

While the Mariners have taken the league by storm for more than the past month, the Tigers have been experiencing similar success, winning five of their past six games. A big reason for that has been the rejuvenation of center fielder Austin Jackson, who is hitting .343 (12-for-35) this month.

"I knew that all along. A guy that gets us excited with the way he can run around the bases and getting on base for the big guys, that's a nice formula, as it is with all teams," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I think he's doing very well. He's picked up, doing much, much better, which we felt like he would, it's just sometimes you just never know how it plays out."

Entering this month, Jackson was hitting only .225 and, just as in the center fielder's rookie season, his 64 strikeouts were quite alarming. Regardless of those struggles, Leyland said he never stopped believing in the 24-year-old.

"I wasn't worried about him all along. He brings too much to the party," Leyland said. "He doesn't have to hit .320 to be a real valuable guy for us. With the way he can run the bases and play the outfield, he doesn't have to hit .320 to be real valuable for us."

Mariners: Cust sits again
Wedge continued to juggle his lineup in search of offense, starting youngster Mike Carp at designated hitter the past two games. With Carp in the lineup, Jack Cust has been on the bench, but Wedge said he's spoken to the veteran about his role.

"I've had the conversations I need to have with people. When he gets back in there he'll be ready to go," Wedge said. "We've got a lot of irons in the fire right now and we're looking to progress with everything, whether it be with our younger players or trying to get some of our veterans going."

• Like Cust, first baseman Justin Smoak also sat Thursday. It was Smoak's first off-day after 39 consecutive starts.

Tigers: Youngsters impressing
Although Jackson established himself last season, other young players have stepped up in place of injured veterans such as Magglio Ordonez and Brandon Inge this year. Among those who have been especially impressive are Casper Wells and Danny Worth, who Leyland endorsed prior to Thursday's game.

"I think they're showing that they're big-league players. To what degree, I couldn't answer that for sure," Leyland said. "I think Worth definitely could be an everyday player if he hits. I don't think there's any question about that."

• The Tigers continued their hot June hitting in Thursday's 4-1 win, knocking out seven hits. Overall, the Tigers are hitting .316 with 47 runs scored, 16 doubles and 12 home runs in eight June games.

Worth noting
• Penny is 2-1 in his last three starts but has been the beneficiary of a potent Tigers offense that has been able to overcome his 7.02 ERA (13 runs in 16 2/3 innings) during that span.

• Bedard has earned consecutive no-decisions with back-to-back seven-strikeout games. He is 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA in six career starts against Detroit.

• Ichiro needs three more steals to reach 400 in his Major League career and is four away from 600 in his professional career. Comments