Leadoff men Ichiro Suzuki, Erick Aybar pull off unusual feat

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As the Angels were beating the Mariners 8-3 on Thursday night, Ichiro Suzuki and Erick Aybar became the first pair of leadoff men to drive in three runs in the same game in a season and a half.
Ichiro supplied all of Seattle’s runs on the night with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning, giving him his first three-RBI game since April 15, 2009.
Aybar singled in two runs in the second and then one more in the sixth for his first three-RBI game since Aug. 17, 2009.
They were the first leadoff men to both plate three runs for their respective teams since Ian Kinsler and Grady Sizemore did so on April 9, 2009. Of course, those two accomplished it with a bit more power. Kinsler homered once and Sizemore went deep twice in the Rangers’ 12-8 win over the Indians.
Ichiro and Aybar, obviously, were far less likely candidates to combine for six RBI than Kinsler and Sizemore were. Among AL players, only Juan Pierre was averaging fewer RBI per AB than Aybar this season and Ichiro was right there as well. Here was the bottom eight headed into Thursday’s action:
1. Juan Pierre – 14/339 – .041
2. Nyjer Morgan – 14/329 – .043
3. Erick Aybar – 16/325 – .049
4. Ryan Theriot – 18/335 – .054
5. Michael Bourn – 20/321 – .062
6. Austin Jackson – 20/313 – .064
7. Todd Helton – 16/248 – .065
8. Ichiro Suzuki – 24/362 – .067

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.