Twins cruising behind Francisco Liriano, lead Yankees

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The Twins are wearing the pinstripes this evening at Target Field.  That’s not a metaphor, it’s the truth.  The Twins are wearing pinstripes.  Let’s get to the updates…

Francisco Liriano got himself into trouble in the top of the third inning with a leadoff walk to Yankees speedster Brett Gardner, who stole 47 bases in 56 chances during the regular season.  Derek Jeter then followed with a sharp single to left field that fell just in front of Delmon Young.  But Nick Swisher flied out, Mark Teixeira did the same and a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez brought the Minnesota faithful to its feet.

Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson punched a single into left field to open the bottom of the frame and then advanced to third base on a soft infield groundout by Joe Mauer.  A passed ball one pitch later allowed “The O-Dog” to cross the plate and put the Twins up 3-0 after three innings.

Liriano rattled off a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth, retiring Robinson Cano on a groundout, Marcus Thames on a flyout and Jorge Posada on a gorgeous strikeout.  The Twins lefty, who fanned 201 batters in 191-plus innings during the regular season, is absolutely coasting through four innings against baseball’s most productive lineup.

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.