Red hot Twins go into Chicago and sweep the White Sox out of the playoff picture

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Needing to sweep the Twins to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs the White Sox instead lost all three games in Chicago, ending the AL Central race.
With a nine-game lead in the division and a “magic number” of eight games the Twins could conceivably fail to win any of their final 16 games and still claim the AL Central crown if the White Sox go 8-8 or worse. In other words, it’s over.
Going into Chicago and taking all three games from a team clinging to their playoff lives continues the Twins’ recent dominance over the White Sox. They’ve won 11 of the last 13 matchups at U.S. Cellular Field and are 31-13 against the White Sox since the middle of 2008, including a 13-5 record head-to-head this season that all but accounts for the nine-game gap in the standings.
Twins-White Sox has become perhaps the most lopsided rivalry in baseball and some time next week Minnesota will claim its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons under Ron Gardenhire. Remarkably, since losing Justin Morneau and his 1.055 OPS just before the All-Star break the Twins are an MLB-best 43-19 and are now very much in the mix with the Rays and Yankees for homefield advantage.

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.