PHILADELPHIA -- The appetizing pitching battle between close friends and fierce competitors in Friday's Game 5 of the National League Division Series certainly lived up to expectations.
In only the third matchup of former Cy Young Award winners in the decisive game of a playoff series, Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter outdueled Phillies ace Roy Halladay by throwing a three-hit shutout and sending St. Louis to the NL Championship Series with a 1-0 win at Citizens Bank Park.
Carpenter and Halladay, former teammates with the Blue Jays and best friends who were meeting on the mound for the first time, were effusive in their praise of each other following the game. Halladay worked eight innings and gave up a run in the first.
"It was an unbelievable night," Carpenter said. "You had to look at all kinds of things. First, Roy Halladay is probably at this time the best pitcher in the game, and we come out and were able to jump on him early and get a quick run, which was huge."
Halladay , in a somber Phillies clubhouse, marveled at the performance of Carpenter.
"Chris was unbelievable, he really was," Halladay said. "Everything was down, everything was moving. You know, especially guys like him, after his first time out he's going to be tough.
"You hate to lose in a one-run game, but you have to tip your hat to him. He was unbelievable and made it tough for us. He didn't give anything to us, and we were really going to have to work hard to score, and he kept us quiet."
Even former NL Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden chimed in on the magnitude of the game via Twitter: "I don't know who's watching but this is a throw-back, old-school pitching duel between Halladay & Carpenter. I luv it."
How could you not?
Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.