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PRO RECAP: All-Star breaks and free agency

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | July 12, 2023 4:51 PM

SEATTLE – From the MLB’s All-Star Week to signing new players, Washington’s professional teams have been busy over the previous week. Read along for an update on the Mariners, Storm and Kraken.

Mariners

Entering the MLB’s All-Star break one win over .500 (45-44), Seattle closed out the first half of the regular season winning three-straight series over the Tampa Bay Rays, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros.

After dropping the final game 2-0 against the Giants, the Mariners remained on the road in a four-game series against the Houston Astros. Seattle opened the series with a 5-1 win over Houston, where Eugenio Suárez hit two home runs in the triumph.

In the following game, an early 1-0 Houston lead was quickly erased in the top of the fourth inning where Seattle scored nine runs. Second baseman Kolten Wong opened the scoring with an RBI to tie the game, with Seattle centerfielder Julio Rodríguez giving his squad the lead for good on a two-RBI single. Catcher Cal Raleigh, first baseman Mike Ford and Wong also batted in more runs during the fourth.

Houston got a win back in the third game of the series, breaking a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth on a home run by Martin Maldonado. In the series finale, a two-RBI double by outfielder Jarred Kelenic gave Seattle a 3-0 lead which they eventually rode out to a 3-1 win.

The MLB’s All-Star festivities were held in Seattle from Friday through Tuesday, with the HBCU Swingman Classic, Futures Game, MLB Draft, Home Run Derby, All-Star Game and other various activities hosted in the city. Rodríguez represented the Mariners in the Home Run Derby, setting the single-round record with 41 in his first-round matchup against Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Rodríguez fell to the eventual champion Vlad Guerrero Jr. 21-20 in the semifinals.

Storm

The Seattle Storm fell to 4-15 with Tuesday’s 93-86 road loss to the Washington Mystics, despite a 39-point performance from All-Star guard Jewell Lloyd who tied the WNBA single-game record with nine three-pointers. The loss was the seventh straight for the Storm, whose last win came at home against the Phoenix Mercury on June 24.

Lloyd and center Ezi Magbegor will head to Las Vegas for the WNBA All-Star game this weekend, playing on Breanna Stewart’s team. Tip-off of the WNBA All-Star Game is at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Kraken

Seattle continued its free agency period with the signing of former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a one-year contract with an average annual value of $775,000, according to NHL.com. Bellemare, 38, scored four goals and recorded nine assists in 73 regular season games with Tampa Bay in the 2022-23 season and has a career faceoff percentage of 51.4%.

The Kraken signed defenseman Will Borgen to a two-year deal with a $2.7 million AAV, returning to Seattle after playing in all 82 regular season games last season. Borgen recorded a career-high in points (20) on the ice last season.

Defenseman Cale Fleury signed with Seattle on a two-year deal with an AAV of $775,000 after playing 21 games with the Kraken over the past two seasons.

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AP PHOTO/LINDSEY WASSON

Seattle hosted the 2023 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night, with center fielder Julio Rodríguez, pitcher George Kirby and pitcher Luis Castillo representing the Mariners.

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AP PHOTO/FRANK FRANKLIN II

The Seattle Kraken signed former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a one-year contract with an average annual value of $775,000, according to NHL.com.