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Cardinals look to extend wild-card lead over fading Padres

Sat Sep 18 7:11am ET

The St. Louis Cardinals will try to extend their six-game winning streak and boost their playoff hopes when they host the San Diego Padres on Saturday.

The Cardinals beat the Padres 8-2 Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium. They are one game up on the Cincinnati Reds, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Padres and 2 1/2 games up on the Philadelphia Phillies in the race for the second National League wild card slot.

"We're having a lot of fun right now and it's contagious," Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson told Bally Sports Midwest after hitting two homers and driving in five runs. "This is a good ball team we're playing so we have to keep bringing that energy, that's for sure."

The Cardinals (77-69) will start right-hander Adam Wainwright (16-7, 2.88 ERA), who has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his past eight starts. He threw six shutout innings in his last outing, a 7-0 victory over the New York Mets.

"All of these games -- all of these games -- are just so important it feels like a playoff game," Wainwright said. "We have to win all of them, I think. We have to have that intent to go out and win all of these games. We can't have any slipups the rest of the way. We've got to bring our best -- just like in a playoff series."

Wainwright lost his previous start against the Padres this season 13-3 after allowing six runs on eight hits, including three homers, and three walks in four innings on May 15.

He is 7-5 with a 2.71 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Padres, including 13 starts.

The Padres (76-71) have lost six of their past eight games.

"Still some positives to build on," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after Friday's loss. "We got (Yu) Darvish going tomorrow. We have to be ready to go."

Darvish (8-10, 4.32 ERA) is coming off of his worst outing of the season. The San Francisco Giants tagged him for four homers and eight runs in four innings during their 9-1 victory last Monday.

Although Darvish was shelved by a back injury last month, Tingler said that ailment wasn't an issue against the Giants.

"He just didn't have the overall command," Tingler said. "He didn't have the finish to what he usually has with his slider and cutter. He tried to go in to some of the lefties. Early on a couple of them backed up and they were obviously out over the plate and got beat with the long ball. Just the lack of feel of command overall."

Darvish has not faced the Cardinals this season. He is 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA in six career starts against them.

"The frustration level for myself is very high," Darvish said after Monday's defeat, which came after three straight losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers. "I would assume a lot of the other players, along with the staff members and coaches -- they're carrying some frustration as well. But we have to turn the page."

--Field Level Media

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