Chris Carpenter working on a gem, Cards stomping ‘Stros

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Thanks to a massive opening frame and a sprinkling of hits and runs in between, the Cardinals are leading the Astros 7-0 after six full innings.

And it’s not just about the awoken offense.

Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has surrendered just two hits over six scoreless innings. He has eight strikeouts and has issued just one walk while throwing 56 of his 81 pitches for strikes.

The veteran right-hander has induced seven groundball outs and three via the sky. An ace-like performance, even against the Astros’ light-hitting lineup.

Houston has already turned things over to the bullpen.

Report: Red Sox expected to hire Alex Cora after World Series

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox have offered a contract to Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora, though the deal won’t be officially announced until the conclusion of the World Series later this month. Cora has long been a favorite for the Sox’ managerial vacancy, and despite reports that he was being pursued by the Tigers, Mets, Phillies and Nationals, he’s expected to land in Boston after all. The team has yet to verify the report.

The deal is for three years, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Cora is coming off of a one-year gig with the Astros and has no prior managerial experience. More importantly, however, he stands out for his familiarity with the Red Sox’ organization, strong connection with players and analytics-driven approach.

The Red Sox are the second team to replace their manager this offseason after the Tigers snatched up Ron Gardenhire on Friday. The Mets, Phillies and Nationals are still hunting for replacements.