With their season on the brink the Padres had an ace up their sleeve.
Yu Darvish made arguably his best start of the season on Saturday night in St. Louis, blanking the Cardinals for 7.0 innings in a game the Padres absolutely had to win to keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive.
Then the bullpen took over and it all went up in smoke.
Emilio Pagan's latest awful outing led to a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, dropping the Padres 2.5 games out of the final National League Wild Card spot on a night that can only be described as crushing.
Darvish struck out seven Cardinals hitters and even had a base hit himself. He left leading 2-0 thanks to RBI singles from Tommy Pham and Victor Caratini, both in the 4th inning.
Pagan entered in the 8th and surrendered a leadoff double to Harrison Bader. A pair of fly balls brought him home to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Pagan made an unforgivable error: he walked Paul Goldschmidt with two outs. Up next was Tyler O'Neill and the big slugger unloaded on a 2-run bomb, the kind of collapse that has come to define the Padres season.
If the Friars want to have any hope at all of catching St. Louis for the 2nd National League Wild Card spot they have to win on Sunday. Jake Arrieta gets the start against lefty J.A. Happ.
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