First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres:
* Clay Buchholz turned in another valuable spot start
Filling in for the injured Steven Wright, Buchholz gave the Red Sox 6 2/3 innings, allowing a solo run on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
The veteran righty has helped save the Red Sox rotation in the second half, filling in for both Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Buchholz began pitching out of the stretch in the bullpen earlier in the season and stayed with the same delivery when he began to start again.
With improved velocity and a more aggressive approach on the mound, Buchholz has rediscovered his bearing on the mound, with far better command. Buchholz has walked just five hitters in his last 23 1/3 innings and has made a habit of avoiding the big inning -- the very thing that hurt him so often in the first half of the season.
* Sandy Leon's bunt jump-started the Red Sox offense.
When Leon came to the plate in the fourth inning, the Red Sox had scored all of one run in the previous 21 innings, dating back to Sunday's game in Oakland.
The Sox had fallen into the habit of stranding runners and failing to come up with hits with runners in scoring position.
Leon saw that the Padres had shifted around to the right when he came to lead off the inning. Leon smartly squared around and dropped a bunt down toward an unmanned third base, then easily sprinted safely to first.
One batter later, Jackie Bradley Jr. hammered a two-run homer to right and the Red Sox were on the way to breaking out of their slump.
* If it seems like Dustin Pedroia is always on base of late, that's only a slight exaggeration.
Pedroia singled in the third, and then in the ninth, reached on an infield single to the shortstop hole.
That gave him another multi-hit game, his ninth in the last 11 games. And in of those games in which he didn't collect two or more hits, he had a hit and a walk, meaning that in 10 of the last 11 games, he's been on base a minimum of two times.
For someone who had stated that he doesn't like hitting leadoff, Pedroia has hardly seemed constrained by the switch to first in the order a little more than a month ago.
To the contrary, Pedroia's presence at the top of the lineup has been a positive move for the offense.