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DET@SEA: Elias fans eight in a three-hit shutout

After a special pregame ceremony to honor the late Don Zimmer, the Rays will take on the Mariners Saturday afternoon in the second game of a four-game set at Tropicana Field.

"I've been reflecting a lot," Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist said. "I think that once we run on the field, we've got to focus on the things that he would want us to be focusing on at that time -- which would be the game itself."

In the game, the Rays -- who snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 4-0 win on Friday -- will send Alex Cobb to the mound against Mariners rookie left-hander Roenis Elias.

Cobb (1-3, 3.19 ERA) has lost his last two starts, most recently a six-inning, three-run effort against the Marlins. After the loss, which came in the middle of Tampa Bay's 10-game losing streak, Cobb was frustrated and emphasized that it's essential that the Rays not accept losing.

He said on Friday, though, that frustration about the team's struggles doesn't change anything about how he goes about his business. For Saturday's game, he said, part of that business will be dealing with a different Seattle lineup than the one left-hander Erik Bedard saw on Friday.

"I think they have kind of two different lineups against lefties and righties, so seeing them tonight won't help too much with it," Cobb said. "It's something I'm gonna have to feel while I'm out there -- kind of like the Miami series. There's a lot of stuff that the tape doesn't tell you about guys."

On the Mariners' end, southpaw Elias has been a pleasant surprise this season, and he's coming off his best outing yet, a three-hit shutout of the Tigers last Sunday at Safeco Field.

The 25-year-old equaled his season high with 111 pitches in that outing as Seattle topped the Tigers, 4-0. Elias' biggest issue has been command, but he walked just one and had eight strikeouts as he evened his record at 4-4 with a 3.53 ERA.

Elias was aided by an improved changeup against the Tigers, which helps set up his 92-94-mph fastball and quality curve.

"I was told that to have success, you have to have command of three pitches," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala.

Rays: Rays will say goodbye to friend, mentor Zimmer
Joe Maddon knows it will be "very emotional" Saturday afternoon when the Rays honor Zimmer in a special ceremony at Tropicana Field prior to the Rays' game against the Mariners.

"But I'm very happy about it," Maddon said Friday. "I believe in celebrating people who are gone. It's not about saying anything smart or special. It's about showing support. It's all about showing up."

Saturday's ceremony will be the only memorial honoring Zimmer, who passed away Wednesday at age 83, following an extended illness. There will be no formal funeral because Zimmer didn't want one.

The list of expected attendees includes Andre Dawson, Tommy Lasorda, Jim Leyland, Lou Piniella and Joe Torre.

Zimmer's granddaughter, Whitney Mollica Goldstein, will throw out the first pitch and his son, Tom, will catch it.

Mariners: Zunino likely back behind plate Saturday
Veteran backup catcher John Buck got the start in place of Mike Zunino for the second straight game in Friday's series opener, but manager Lloyd McClendon said Zunino would likely catch the final three games of the series.

Zunino, the Mariners' 2012 first-round Draft pick, has hit .228 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs and played extremely well behind the dish in 47 games this year, while Buck was playing just his 15th game. But McClendon liked the idea of Buck facing Friday starter Erik Bedard, given his 4-for-7 history against the southpaw, and giving Zunino a rare three-day break.

The Mariners are in a stretch of 36 games in 37 days.

"Zunino is fine," McClendon said. "He's a big, strong kid. But they all get tired at some point and you have to be smart about how you pick and choose those days off. We've tried to be intelligent about this and hopefully, it works."

Worth noting
• Rays catcher Jose Molina got his first RBI of the season with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly in Friday's series opener. He had none in his first 86 at-bats of 2014 (and in his last 100 at-bats dating back to last season). He is still looking for his first home run and first extra-base hit of the year.

• Former Ray and current Mariners closer Fernando Rodney is tied for second in the American League with 16 saves. Rodney, who signed a two-year deal with Seattle this offseason, is 16-for-18 in save opportunities. One of his blown saves came against the Rays on May 13, when he gave up two runs on four hits and got only two outs in a 2-1 loss at Safeco Field. Comments