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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Twins pound Seattle, 8-1

SEATTLE -- Minnesota slugger Chris Colabello hit a two-run double during a four-run second inning as the Twins trounced the Mariners 8-1 at Safeco Field last night in Settle.  Former Mariner Kendrys Morales knocked in three runs for Minnesota, which has won two in-a-row after dropping the opener of the four-game series.  Kyle Gibson tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 8-and-7.  Robinson Cano had three hits and doubled in the lone run in the seventh for the M's, who have dropped three of four.  Roenis Elias was rocked for seven runs, six earned, in three-and-a-third frames as he fell to 7-and-8 with the loss.  The series finale is set for this evening at 9:10 p.m.


The Mariners optioned starting right-hander Taijuan Walker to Triple-A Tacoma yesterday so he can stay on his regular pitching schedule through the All-Star break.  Walker is 1-and-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts since being called up at the end of June.  To fill the roster spot Seattle recalled reliever Stephen Pryor.


 The Boston Red Sox are parting ways with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a former Twin.  The 37-year-old backstop has been designated for assignment.  He hit .254 with four homers in 72 games this season.  Catcher Christian Vazquez has been promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket for Boston.


There is a new leader in the National League Final Vote for the last roster spot for the All-Star team  Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo surpassed former Twin and current Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau in Wednesday's most recent tally.  On-line fan voting ends today.  Morneau is on record saying playing in the game in Minnesota would be meaningful to him.  


Officials in Minneapolis say the city is prepared for M-L-B All-Star Week.  Mayor Betsy Hodges says hosting the All-Star Game next Tuesday at Target Field is great for the city and region.  She says they are ready to go with public works, public safety and the city's ambassadors.  Melvin Tenant of Meet Minneapolis says this is a big week for the hospitality industry as they're expecting more than 160-thousand visitors over the course of the various events.  All-Star FanFest runs July 11th-15th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  The All-Star Concert featuring Imagine Dragons is Saturday at T-C-F Bank Stadium.  


 More than five-thousand fans were on hand to watch the younger players on the Timberwolves scrimmage last night at the Target Center  The players that will comprise the Minnesota roster for this month's NBA Summer League Tournament in Las Vegas put on a show for the patrons last night.  First-round draft choice Zach LaVine scored 16 points in the scrimmage, including eight points on flashy slam dunks.  Center Kyrylo Fesenko of Ukraine scored a game-high 21 points, while Shabazz Muhamed chipped in with 19 points.  Gorgui Dieng did not play due to illness.  The scrimmage ended in a 71-71 tie and lasted only three quarters.  The team will practice again today and leave for Vegas tomorrow.  The first summer league game is set for Saturday.


The NBA salary cap is taking a hike to over 63-million-dollars for the upcoming season.  It's making a jump of 7.5-percent.  The minimum team salary is nearly 56.8-million-dollars.  The Pacers are trying to re-sign guard Lance Stephenson, who was offered a five-year contract worth 44-million.


The Minnesota Wild opened a development camp yesterday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  The camp is designed to focus on developing the franchise's top young prospects, including Matt Dumba, Christian Folin, Kurtis Gabriel, Gustav Olofsson, and Zach Phillips.  Seven additional players who were chosen in last month's NHL Entry Draft are also taking part in the camp, which will run through Monday.  In all, 42 players are in the camp.  Iowa Wild head coach Kurt Kleinendorst is leading the on-ice workouts.  The camp features two scrimmages, which will be free and open to the public.  The first intrasquad game will be tomorrow afternoon at the Braemar Ice Arena in Edina and begins at 2 p.m.  The entire camp concludes with a scrimmage at the Xcel Energy Center on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. 


The Minnesota Wild have signed forward Cody Almond to a one-year contract.  The 24-year-old recorded 18 goals and 16 assists in 44 games in the Swiss League last season.  Almond was originally selected by the Wild in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.  He appeared in 25 NHL games over three seasons with the Wild and had two goals.


The Anaheim Ducks signed unrestricted free-agent forward Dany Heatley to a one-year contract yesterday.  Heatley scored 12 goals with 16 assists in 76 games for the Minnesota Wild last year.  He has scored 50 goals in a season twice over his career and crossed the 40-goal mark four times.