|Closing Time: Red Sox close out best July in franchise history||07.31.11 at 5:41 pm ET|
CHICAGO — There was also a baseball game.
The Red Sox did not allow the looming trade deadline to distract them from the field. Instead, the team claimed the rubber match against the White Sox by a 5-3 margin, narrowly emerging with a winning (2-1) record on the three-game road trip. It marks the seventh straight road trip from which the Sox have emerged with a winning record. The Sox now have a 33-21 record (.611) away from Fenway that ranks as the best road mark in the majors.
The Sox put the final touches on a 20-6 month, a .769 winning percentage that ranks as the best in franchise history for the month. It was also the team’s first 20-win month since May 2007.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
• Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-4 with a walk and delivered a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning to put a cap on a remarkable month of July in which he collected a hit in all but one game. Pedroia hit .411 with eight homers, 22 RBI and a 1.188 OPS during the month.
• Jason Varitek crushed a two-run homer to left-center against Mark Buehrle in the top of the second inning, his second straight plate appearance with a homer against a lefty following a roundtripper against Royals rookie Tim Collins last week. Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have now combined for 16 homers (second most of any team in the AL) and 56 RBI (tops in the AL).
• Andrew Miller bent but did not break. He allowed a season-high 10 hits (all but one of which were singles) while forging a new season-high with eight strikeouts and walking a season-low one batter on a day when his fastball regularly registered 94-95 mph. The volume of hits was alarming, but the Sox will gladly take the results from a Miller who throws 73 of 106 pitches (69 percent) for strikes.
• Adrian Gonzalez quietly extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning double to left-center, and later added a run-scoring double in the top of the ninth. The first baseman is 23-for-43 (.534) during the stretch.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
• Carl Crawford went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .250 with a .599 OPS since returning from the disabled list. On the year, Crawford is hitting .144 against lefties.
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