But the Phillies' Jamie Moyer got the best of the Padres' Greg Maddux on this night and Moyer's team left PETCO with a 1-0 win.
"It is fun being out there," Maddux said. "It was the perfect night to pitch, but I made the one mistake and it cost us."
Both pitchers proved why they have been able to stand the test of time as many of their counterparts call it quits. With similar styles, save for one being right-handed and the other a lefty, they went through each other's lineups like they had seen each player multiple times before.
Because they had.
"We've been doing it long enough that half the guys you're facing, you played with, it seems like, at one time or another," Maddux said.
And so went 1-2-3 inning after 1-2-3 inning with the occasional hit or walk sprinkled into the mix. If not for one pitch to the Phillies' Pat Burrell that was hit for a homer in the top of the seventh inning, both pitchers would have left with no-decisions, which seemed like the right thing to happen the way both of them pitched.
"He's a pro," Padres manager Bud Black said of Maddux, "but those are tough ones."
Unfortunately for fans of great pitching, someone had to lose and on this night, it was Maddux, even after going seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts. Moyer's ability to hold Maddux's teammates at bay with meticulous execution of his pitches and his bullpen able to do enough over the final two innings was enough to preserve Moyer's win and Maddux's fate.
"It was a pitching clinic," Black said. "Two guys that know their game and who are tremendous students of the game. We saw that exhibited today on the mound. It was impressive by both sides and it came down to one swing of the bat by a power hitter."
On the defensive side for the Phillies, this wasn't a one-man show. Moyer had plenty of help as Jimmy Rollins showed why he is viewed as one of the top shortstops in the game.
In the fifth inning, he robbed Tadahito Iguchi of a base hit. Then in the seventh, he showed tremendous range by coming across his body and throwing out a pinch-hitting Edgar Gonzalez.
Rollins' plays even got positive reaction from the Padres fan base. And the awe of some of his opponents.
"It's like looking at [the San Francisco Giants'] Omar Vizquel," Padres shortstop Luis Rodriguez said. "You can watch his play and you think maybe you can practice what he does. For me, I watch him the whole game and how he moves. It's nice watching him play."
But on this night, where one pitch decided the fate of a 42-year-old pitcher facing a 45-year-old pitcher, in the second-oldest matchup in Major League history, the 42-year-old had to take the loss. Because on this night, one of them had to. And Moyer had just enough on the mound, and just enough help, to go home on the opposite side of the loss column.
"He's been doing that a long time," Maddux said of Moyer, "and he's one of the best at it."