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SEA@LAA: Vargas fans five over 8 1/3 dominant frames

The influence of pitching gems like Felix Hernandez's perfect game on Wednesday goes beyond simply keeping the opposition off the scoreboard, according to Mariners manager Eric Wedge.

Dominant outings like King Felix's elevate an entire team.

"I think when you talk about the way a Hernandez, a [Kevin] Millwood, of course [Jason] Vargas, so many of our other guys compete, I think it has an influence on our position players, too," Wedge said. "You truly need a position player to be a team leader, but when it comes to what Felix has done and some of these other guys, they do have an impact on the position players, too."

Hernandez's perfecto also apparently rubbed off on at least one of his fellow starters. On Friday, Hisashi Iwakuma retired the first 12 batters he faced, finally allowing Justin Morneau's leadoff double in the fifth. The Mariners had retired 42 straight batters, going back to Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay, the most in the Majors since 1974.

Vargas will get the start against Minnesota on Saturday, and he not only will be looking to continue Seattle's dominant pitching as a team, but his own stellar pitching since late June.

Vargas is 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA over his last nine starts, dating back to June 26. In his last start, Vargas held the Angels to one run on seven hits over 8 1/3 innings in a 4-1 win on Aug. 12.

"He's a competitor, man," Albert Pujols said of Vargas. "That's why he's so good -- he doesn't have to be overpowering. He just knows how to pitch, and you have to give those guys credit sometimes."

Saturday's matchup has the makings of a pitcher's duel, as Minnesota will send its best pitcher this season to the mound. Scott Diamond enters Safeco Field touting a 2.97 ERA, and is looking for his 11th win of the season.

"It's big," Diamond said after notching win No. 10 against Cleveland on Aug. 6. "I'm pretty excited about it. It's a big milestone in my career, but it doesn't mean it stops here. It's exciting and stuff because it's double digits, but I just want to keep working from here. I know if I want to stick, I have to continue to work, so that's what I'm focused on."

Twins: Span and Revere out
Everyday outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere did not start Friday's game due to injury. Span has been nursing a sore right shoulder since Sunday, while Revere rolled his ankle in Wednesday's game against the Tigers. Revere was available to pinch-hit or pinch-run on Friday and will likely return to the lineup this weekend.

Meanwhile, Span is not yet available, even in a situational role.

"He feels better, but he's not ready to go out there," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's going to do some more work in the cage and then get out there in [batting practice] and see what happens. But he's not ready, so we're still a little thin."

• Outfielder Matt Carson -- freshly recalled from Triple-A Rochester -- notched his first hit and RBI as a member of the Twins with a single in the fifth inning of Friday's game.

Mariners: Furbush activated from DL
Left-hander Charlie Furbush, on the 15-day disabled since July 18 with a strained left triceps, was activated before Friday's game. Shawn Kelley was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to free a spot on the 25-man roster.

Furbush recorded a 6.00 ERA in five rehab appearances for Tacoma, though he pitched two scoreless innings on Tuesday in Nashville.

"I'd never had an injury like this, so there wasn't an exact time table," Furbush said. "It was just a day to day thing and finally I got to the point where I just felt like myself again."

• Kyle Seager has notched a hit in 8 of his last 10 games at Safeco Field, hitting .378 (14-for-37) over that span.

Worth noting
• Joe Mauer entered Friday's game batting .360 with a .464 on-base percentage in 51 career games against Seattle, both the best marks among active players.

• The Mariners improved to 38-26 all-time against the Twins at Safeco Field with Friday's win.

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