Chris Carpenter hoping to throw off a mound this week

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Chris Carpenter hasn’t thrown a pitch this year, but he may get closer to that this week, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that he could begin throwing off a mound:

“Where I’m at right now compares to where I’m at when I start preparing myself to go to spring training. I’ve been doing everything: strengthening my upper body, running, everything. I feel great.”

Barring setbacks, that “preparing to go to spring training” timeline would have him back in about five weeks. Given the Cardinals’ health these days (i.e. awful) having him back would be a big boost.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.