Carlos Beltran, Russell Martin

Carlos Beltran continues post-season dominance, ties up NLDS Game 3 at 2-2 in the 5th

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Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran added to his post-season legend by coming through for his team in the fifth inning against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano in the fifth inning of Game 3. Jon Jay singled and Pete Kozma walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but it appeared they were on their way to squandering that opportunity.

Pitcher Joe Kelly attempted to bunt both runners over but failed, striking out on a foul tip to catcher Russell Martin. Matt Carpenter then struck out looking as Jay and Kozma successfully executed a double-steal, moving to second and third with two outs. With a base open, the Pirates could have pitched around Beltran, especially after Liriano fell behind 2-0. But Liriano fired some off-speed stuff before Beltran was able to get a grounder through the Pirate infield for a two-run single, tying up the game at 2-2.

The Pirates had taken a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to Marlon Byrd’s two-run single to left against Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Kelly has since held the Pirate lineup down without much of an issue.

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.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.