Chris Iannetta was the Angels offense in baseball's first ever interleague opening day contest. He hit a solo home run in the third inning and a bases-loaded single to score two runs in the thirteenth inning in Cincinnati to beat a solid Reds team. Mike Scioscia used his entire bench in the game with pinch-hitters galore under the antiquated 1869 rules of the National League where pitchers bat instead of the civilized Designated Hitter. Every reliever got in the game save for the mop Jerome Williams.
Reliever Mark Lowe - abandoned by the genius cokestraw-cluster front office running the Texas Rangers in favor of veteran Derek Lowe - got the win with two perfect innings on the mound in extras and Ernesto Frieri got the Save.
Home plate umpire Dale Scott had a pitcher-friendly strike zone and 17 times Angels batters walked back to the dugout with a K.
Jered Weaver hit the first batter of the game. Albert Pujols got booed. The Angels made three errors but none of the errors cost them. Weaver and the pen held Cincy to three hits and five walks - meanwhile the Angels had six hits and seven walks.
Shin Soo Choo had a great swing for a third inning double - he got over to 3B but with one out there was no contact play and he stayed put when a sharp grounder was hit to Albert. Soon thereafter, Weaver missed the tag at home when Choo scored on a passed ball, but the threat of Weave being mowed down was worth that gingerly slapped glove being a smidgen tentative and a half-inch from Choo's shoe.
Pujols got on base on an error by Brandon Phillips - a classic case of peeking at the runner before the ball is in the glove.
Weaver had a five-pitch fifth inning.
Trout's first hit was a good piece of hitting on a 1-2 pitch in the sixth.
The decision for Howie Kendrick to bunt in the seventh with two n and no out was a curious one. Josh Hamilton had gotten a leadoff walk, Mark Trumbo got a base hit and comes up non-bunter fastabll hitter Kendrick. He did get a good bunt down but with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Iannetta laid off pitches that were better than the one he flailed at for strike three. J.B. Shuck followed with a truly pathetic strikeout.
Kevin Jepsen - wow. And as good as Aroldis Chapman looked the Angels hitters seemed to be much more keyed-in, a sort of curse that comes with great relievers - the hunger in the eyes of the wolf at the plate. The K looking in the top of the tenth to Iannetta was the nastiest pitch of the game. And "LeCure" is such an hilarious name for a reliever. Said the physician in Paris... "Mademoiselle, we have found LeCure for what is ailing yooooooo".
Scott Downs was just fine - Spring is in the rear view mirror and April began with a 1-2-3 tenth inning.
Shuck, Burnett, Brendan Harris and Mark Lowe made their Angels debuts. Andrew Romine became the first Angels player since 1999 to wear Jersey #7 when he came in to pinch run for Pujols in the top of the eleventh.