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Red Sox move ahead of Rays in seventh inning of Game 4

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The Red Sox are suddenly six outs away from dismissing the Rays and advancing to the ALCS.

Tampa Bay scored the first run of this ALDS Game 4 in the bottom of the sixth inning on David DeJesus’ RBI single, but the Red Sox answered right back in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew, rising star Xander Bogaerts took a one-out walk from Rays left-hander Jake McGee. Jacoby Ellsbury then hit a two-out single, moving Bogaerts to third. Rays manager Joe Maddon called for right-hander Joel Peralta, who skipped his first pitch and allowed Bogaerts to scamper home for the tying run. An infield single by Shane Victorino moments later drove in Ellsbury and gave Boston a 2-1 lead.

Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow struck out Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. Breslow also fanned James Loney in the bottom of the sixth.

To the top of the eighth inning we go at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

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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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.

It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.

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.