Mariners-Rays Preview


After watching the losses pile up, the Tampa Bay Rays finally picked up a win.

The Rays try to build on their first victory in nearly two weeks as they continue a four-game home set against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Tampa Bay (24-38) had been outscored 56-27 during a 10-game losing steak - its longest since 2009 - before taking Friday's series opener 4-0. Evan Longoria, James Loney, Yunel Escobar and Kevin Kiermaier each had two hits and Erik Bedard threw six strong innings.

"The music is back on in the clubhouse after the game," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's good to hear the music. It's a good first game to start hopefully getting us back in the right direction."

Following their first victory since May 25, the Rays still own baseball's worst record.

"It's way more fun winning," Bedard said. "We celebrated, and hopefully we do that tomorrow, too."

Tampa Bay now gives the ball to Alex Cobb (1-3, 3.19 ERA), who hopes to avoid losing a career high-tying third consecutive start after posting a 7.36 ERA in his last two.

However, both of those games were on the road. Cobb is 8-1 with a 2.61 ERA in his last 18 outings at Tropicana Field, with the lone loss coming this season because he's received zero runs of support in three home starts while posting a 1.93 ERA.

Cobb is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three outings against the Mariners.

Robinson Cano is 7 for 18 with three homers in their matchups since 2012 and is batting .409 over his last 16 games.

Cano had two hits Friday, but the rest of the Mariners had three as they missed a chance at a season-high sixth straight win. Seattle (31-29) went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and was shut out for the seventh time.

"This is one of those days we didn't play very well on either side of the baseball and those things happen," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Mariners rookie Roenis Elias (4-4, 3.53) had gone 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA over a four-start stretch before three-hitting Detroit in Sunday's 4-0 victory. The 25-year-old left-hander matched a season high with 111 pitches in recording his first complete game.

"I was told that to have success (in the majors) you have to have command of three pitches," he said through a translator. "The curveball, the changeup and the fastball were all working."

Elias racked up five of his eight strikeouts with the curveball.

"When he keeps it in the zone and guys have to respect it as a strike and then he can use it as a put-away pitch, that's when it's really working well for him," catcher Mike Zunino said.

This marks Elias' first appearance against the Rays.

The Mariners could be without right fielder Michael Saunders, who left Friday's game with a sore right shoulder. He is batting .356 with eight extra-base hits - three homers - and 18 RBIs in his last 17 games.

Seattle has dropped three straight and 15 of 19 at Tropicana Field.

A pregame ceremony will take place Saturday to honor the life of Don Zimmer, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 83. He was a special assistant with the Rays.