Red Sox fans, you have your first playoff win since 2008! And while it was perhaps the best full-team win we've seen in a long while--every single man in the lineup picked up a hit and scored a run--we have a few standouts to highlight:
Jon Lester -- 7.2 Innings Pitched, 6 Baserunners, 2 Runs
Jon Lester got off to an incredible start, striking out the first four batters he faced, stumbled partway through by surrendering solo shots in both the second and fourth, but recovered in style, breezing through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings before being pulled with two down in the eighth. The Red Sox' offense can't ask for much more than Lester delivered tonight, though he might well have managed that were it not for one very rough call against Sean Rodriguez.
Jonny Gomes -- 1-for-4 with a walk, 2 RBI, 1 Awesome Run, 1 Awesome Photo
Jonny Gomes didn't get on base every time he stepped to the plate, but he really made his one hit count. A huge double off the Monster that tied the game up in the fourth, and then a heads-up play to run home from second on Stephen Drew's infield single, culminating in this awesome picture. Not the best night by the numbers, but his hit turned the tide, and that run home may be the best play from the Sox' side tonight.
Shane Victorino -- 3-for-4 with a HBP, 2 RBI
Shane's night was understated for being the best by-the-numbers performance, but he was as good in October as he has been all year long. It was his single which capped off the fourth inning, providing a fifth run which, if unimportant given the final score, seemed plenty big at the time. Add in his usual steady presence in the outfield--one which stands in stark contrast to Wil Myers' with his big mistake--and a stolen base, and you've got one heck of a performance.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and 3 RBI
File it under the same category as Victorino; Salty's strong night could easily get lost in a game which saw everyone do well. But whether it was obvious or not, Salty came through, knocking more runs in than anyone else on the team. He made Maddon pay for an intentional walk in the fifth, turning a 5-2 lead into a 7-2 rout and chasing Matt Moore from the game, and cashed in on another opportunity in the eighth, bringing home the final run of the game. You might even give Salty some credit for Lester's resurgence in the fifth-through-eighth innings, though much of that probably came from the lineup getting the lead.
So, Red Sox fans, what will it be? Who was the MVP for Game One?