CINCINNATI (AP) ― Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer and a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning Monday, powering the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the majors’ first interleague season opener.
Both teams emptied their benches and bullpens before Iannetta ― who caught all 13 innings ― finally provided the breakout hit.
The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the 13th off J.J. Hoover, who walked two and hit Hank Conger, the Angels’ final position player. Iannetta worked the count full, fouled off a pair of pitches, then singled to left.
Mark Lowe pitched two innings for the win. Ernesto Frieri, the Angels’ seventh pitcher, finished off the Reds’ longest opening game since 1975, when they beat the Dodgers 2-1 in 14 innings.
Fans sing the national anthem ahead of the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)
For the second straight season, an opener in Ohio went long. The Blue Jays beat the Indians 7-4 in 16 innings last year in Cleveland, the longest opener in major league history.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto gave up three hits in seven innings, including Iannetta’s solo homer in the second. The Angels’ Jered Weaver allowed two hits in six innings, giving up a run on a wild pitch.
Choo Shin-soo had a solid debut as the Reds’ leadoff hitter, reaching three times. He doubled in the third and came around on a ground out and Weaver’s wild pitch.
Reds outfielder Choo Shin-soo trots to first base after being hit by a pitch in the first inning on Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)
The Reds suffered their first injury of the season. Left fielder Ryan Ludwick dislocated his right shoulder while sliding headfirst into third base on Weaver’s wild pitch in the third inning. He’ll have an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity.
The bulllpens decided an opener between two teams that think they can contend for the playoffs right from the first pitch ― which was a 92 mph fastball by Cueto for a called strike.
Harper, Strasburg lead Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) ― For Bryce Harper, two homers in his first two at-bats, and even some “M-V-P!” chants. For Stephen Strasburg, 19 consecutive outs during one stretch of seven scoreless innings.
And for the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals, a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday in Game 1 of a season lame-duck manager Davey Johnson declared months ago should be defined as “World Series or bust.”
“You couldn’t draw it up any better. No question. And to have the two youngsters go out, do what they did? ... Let Harper and Stras go to work. They didn’t need us,” Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
Harper, the 20-year-old left fielder coming off NL Rookie of the Year honors, hit solo shots over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field off Ricky Nolasco in the first and fourth innings. He sprinted around the bases both times, and after his second trip, he climbed back out of the dugout for a curtain call, pumping his right fist.
It was Harper’s first taste of opening day; he began last year in the minors before getting called up.
“It was a pretty special moment,” Harper said. “If I was 0 for 4, or 4 for 4, it wouldn’t have mattered to me. Just going out there having some fun on opening day for the first time.”
Kershaw lifts Dodgers over Giants
LOS ANGELES (AP) ― Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Then another Dodgers left-hander with a great curveball dominated.
Clayton Kershaw launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning before finishing off a four-hitter Monday that led Los Angeles over the defending champion San Francisco Giants 4-0 on opening day.
“He gave us seven chances to take care of it, and finally he said, ‘That’s enough. I’m going to take care of it,’” catcher A.J. Ellis said.
Kershaw became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon for Cleveland in 1953, according to STATS.
“What an awesome feeling,” said Kershaw, who charged around the bases accompanied by a prolonged roar from the sellout crowd of 53,000. “I probably wasn’t feeling my feet hitting the ground.”
Boston 8, NY Yankees 2
NY Mets 11, San Diego 2
Chicago Cubs 3, Pittsburgh 1
Milwaukee 5, Colorado 4
Chicago White Sox 1, Kansas City 0
Detroit 4, Minnesota 2
Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 5
Arizona 6, St. Louis 2
Seattle 2, Oakland 0