CINCINNATI — In a game so long that everything became blurred, catcher Chris Iannetta had one thing clearly in mind when he dug in for his final at-bat. Don’t strike out again.
He didn’t. Iannetta singled with the bases loaded in the 13th inning Monday, sending the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in an opener that set a few records and emptied both bullpens and benches.
“Not what you script for the first day going on,” said Iannetta, who caught all 13 innings.
The first interleague season opener in major league history showed what happens when first games are played in Ohio. Last year, the Blue Jays beat the Indians 7-4 in 16 innings in Cleveland, the longest opener in major league history.
Iannetta hit a solo homer in the third inning off Johnny Cueto, then grounded out and struck out three times, including with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to keep it tied at 1.
“It was a long day at that point,” Iannetta said. “I’d had some pretty forgettable at-bats. I was just trying not to strike out.”
J.J. Hoover walked two and hit Hank Conger — the Angels’ final position player — to load the bases with two outs. Iannetta worked the count full, fouled off a couple pitches, then singled to left.
“That was a heck of an Opening Day game,” Hoover said. “It would have been better if we’d have come out on top.”
With that, the Reds were headed to a loss in their longest season-opening game since 1975, when they beat the Dodgers 2-1 in 14 innings.
Mark Lowe pitched two innings for the win. Ernesto Frieri, the Angels’ seventh pitcher, completed an impressive showing by the Angels’ bullpen, which allowed only one hit over the final seven innings.
Angels pitchers fanned 13 in all. Reds pitchers had 17 strikeouts.
Los Angeles’ new $125 million outfielder Josh Hamilton, who came over from Texas, was 0-for-4 with a pair of walks. Albert Pujols also failed to get a hit.
FORMER REBEL LUDWICK DISLOCATES SHOULDER
Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick, a former UNLV and Durango High School standout, dislocated his right shoulder while sliding into third base during the third inning of Cincinnati’s season opener Monday.
Ludwick’s right arm caught in the dirt on a headfirst slide. He was safe, but immediately grabbed the side of his shoulder. He left the game for an examination and will have an MRI today.
“The ground was a little wet, and when I hit the ground, my hand stopped,” Ludwick said. “Normally, it slides with you. My shoulder popped out. This wasn’t the best Opening Day.”