Somehow, despite being no-hit for the first half of the game again, the Red Sox have defeated the Tigers in Detroit 1-0, reclaiming home field advantage and taking a 2-1 lead in the ALCS.
So here we are again, and much like last time, there's not many real candidates. Unlike Game 2, however, this time there's more than one!
There are two:
1. Mike Napoli
The only man to do anything against Justin Verlander after six innings that were as unbelievable for their quality as for the fact that they followed the ridiculous performances from Games 1 and 2. It followed an 0-for-11 slump from the streaky first baseman, but give him credit: when he reversed his fortunes, he did so in the biggest possible way, single-handedly winning Boston Game 3.
2. John Lackey
Well, single-handedly when limited to the scope of the offense. A 1-0 game is only won if that zero stays on the board, and John Lackey made sure of that for better than six innings. And if the first and fifth innings had some tense moments, he actually managed to match Verlander pitch-for-pitch in doing so. It wasn't just luck or BABIP or whatever--John Lackey pitched like the guy who should be facing Justin Verlander, striking out eight batters and allowing just four baserunners on four hits. I'm still not quite certain how he threw fastballs past Miguel Cabrera with regularity, but one way or another it ended with an 0-for from Cabrera and a goose egg from the Tigers.