Houston held the line on a fifth year of this deal that would have paid Paul some $47 million at age 37.

Realistically, it’s going to be difficult for Paul to be worth his salary at any point in this contract given his age and tendency to suffer muscle injuries. I project his value at around $80 million over the next three seasons, when he’ll actually make $115 million. But such is the price of contending for the Rockets, who got within a game of the NBA Finals after adding Paul at this time a year ago.

That Ariza didn’t think he could get as good a deal from Houston could be a signal that new owner Tilman Fertitta wasn’t willing to pay an exorbitant luxury-tax bill to bring the roster back intact. General manager Daryl Morey will be hard-pressed to replace Ariza with only the taxpayer midlevel exception to offer in a market short on 3-and-D players who can defend either forward spot. I’m fascinated to see how the Rockets respond.

Herrera doubled off the glove of left fielder Denard Span with one out. An infield single from Mike Moustakas put runners on the corners, but Gonzales induced an inning-ending double play from Salvador Perez to keep the Royals off the board.

The way that we’ve been playing and the fun that we’ve been having, I can’t wait for my fifth day to come, Gonzales said. To be able to go out there and contribute in a positive way and have these guys rally behind you is pretty incredible.

Royals starter Ian Kennedy (1-8) retired the first 10 batters he faced before running into trouble in the fourth. Jean Segura reached on an infield single to give Seattle its first baserunner of the game. Haniger followed with a two-run blast over the center-field wall to give the Mariners a 2-0 lead.

After fouling off three straight pitches with a 2-2 count, Zunino blasted a solo home run two rows from the top of the upper deck in left field to extend the Mariners’ lead to 3-0 in the fifth.

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