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Aced! Carpenter lifts Cards to NLCS, sends Phillies home

Score and situation: Admitted into the playoffs on the season's final day, the St. Louis Cardinals are on their way to the NLCS after a thrilling 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. The Phillies' season, meanwhile, ends after a best-in-baseball 102 victories in the regular season.

Leading lads: A pitcher's duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay(notes) was advertised and that's exactly what we got. Carpenter turned in a performance that will go down as one of the best in St. Louis history, pitching a three-hit, complete-game shutout to clinch the series.

Halladay wasn't so bad himself, allowing one run and six hits over eight innings. But Doc received no help from the Phillies offense and was tabbed with the hardest of hard-luck losses.

Head hangers: Jimmy Rollins(notes), Hunter Pence(notes) and Ryan Howard(notes) went a combined 0-for-12 at the top of the Phils' order. In a sad twist, Howard — who went 2-for-19 in the series — made the last out of the game and injured himself while leaving the batter's box.

Key play: Furcal tripled off Halladay to the lead off the game and was doubled home on the next at-bat by Skip Schumaker(notes). It would be the only run scored by the Cardinals — but the only one that Carpenter would need.

What's next: OK, who had an all-NL Central matchup in the NLCS? The Cardinals will travel to Milwaukee to renew a heated regular season rivalry with the Brewers. Game 1 starts Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.

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