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Ackley makes most of shot as leadoff hitter

The Sports Xchange
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--2B Dustin Ackley got his first start of the season as the leadoff hitter with LF Chone Figgins getting the day off Wednesday. Ackley had a few starts in the leadoff spot during the Cactus League, and he had three hits, three RBI and a runs scored in that role Wednesday.

--1B Justin Smoak returned to the starting lineup Wednesday after getting a couple of starts off. Manager Eric Wedge said that Smoak could have played Tuesday, but the manager wanted to err on the side of caution.

--C Jesus Montero caught RHP Felix Hernandez in a regular season game for the first time Wednesday. Manager Eric Wedge is working Montero, who spends most of his time as the DH, in as the backup to C Miguel Olivo slowly. He had caught Hector Noesi and RH Kevin Millwood twice each in his four starts behind the plate before Wednesday's matchup with Hernandez, who allowed one run in seven innings.

--LF Mike Carp is off with Class AAA Tacoma rehabbing his sprained right shoulder. Manager Eric Wedge said Carp could be ready to return to the team within "the next three or four days" or a week at the outside.

--3B/1B Alex Liddi has homered in each of the last two games, and manager Eric Wedge wants to get him in the lineup again Thursday, although it's not clear how Wedge plans on doing that. Liddi could play at first, at third or as the DH. Having Liddi in left field is a more remote possibility.

--RF Ichiro Suzuki came into the series against the Tigers as a .347 hitter at Comerica Park. He's 6-for-10 in the first two games this week, and he has pushed his average there to .358, which is the third-best average at Comerica, behind Carlos Lee (.329), Denard Span (.377) and just ahead of Yuniesky Betancourt (.357).

--RHP Felix Hernandez's victory Wednesday stretched his winning streak against the Tigers to 9-0 in a 10-game stretch. The winning streak is the longest by any pitcher against the Tigers since Brad Radke had a 12-game streak from 2000-04.

BY THE NUMBERS
5-2 -- Combined record for top two starting pitchers RHP Felix Hernandez and LHP Jason Vargas this month

QUOTE TO NOTE
"This is not a good lineup to get behind in the count to." -- RHP Felix Hernandez, who issued three walks in the first inning Wednesday, then didn't give another walk in the next six innings.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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