The highly anticipated pitchers' duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the National League Division Series not only met expectations, but even set a bit of history.
The Cardinals' narrow victory was the first series-clinching game in either the NLDS or NL Championship Series that ended with a 1-0 score. It was also just the ninth series-clinching game to end with that score and the first time since the 1921 World Series that the game's lone run was scored in the first inning.
Ninety years ago, in Game 8 of the best-of-nine series, the New York Giants (NL) jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the New York Yankees (AL) in the top of the first and then held on for the title. For the first time since, the Cardinals repeated that feat Friday night.
St. Louis raced out to a 1-0 lead just two batters into the do-or-die clash, but it was defense and pitching that took center stage from there. Halladay settled in and didn't allow another run over his eight innings of work, and Carpenter was even better, hurling a three-hit shutout.
"I think [Carpenter] will remember this forever," manager Tony La Russa said. "And so will the Cardinal fans, going into this game against Halladay and winning 1-0."
Series-clinching games decided by a 1-0 final
Giants @ Yankees
WS 7 *
Yankees @ Giants
Dodgers @ Orioles
Royals @ Tigers
WS 7 *
Braves @ Twins
Indians @ Braves
Indians @ Orioles
White Sox @ Astros
NLDS 5 *
Cards @ Phillies
Winning team in bold
* -- Decisive game
Of the other eight 1-0 series-clinching victories, six came in the World Series, while two came in American League Championship Series play. The most recent occurrence was in the 2005 World Series, when the White Sox shut out the Astros in Game 4 to complete the series sweep.
As for win-or-go-home postseason games that had just one runner cross home plate, the Cards-Phillies contest was just the third such game in Major League history. In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, the Twins defeated the Braves, 1-0, in 10 innings, and the Yankees defeated the Giants by that score in Game 7 of the 1962 Fall Classic.
With the only run coming just moments into the game, the Cardinals actually scored their game-winning run before the Brewers notched their game-winning tally in extra innings to eliminate the Diamondbacks in a game that had started two and a half hours earlier.
Carpenter and Halladay not only met the highest of expectations for the Game 5 clash of former teammates, but they put their names in the history books in one of the best do-or-die pitchers' duels of all-time.
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.