Iannetta comes up big in 13th, and then some …

Chris IannettaHere’s a tough challenge: Start your season off by catching 12 innings in 45-degree weather, then come up in a tough spot — with the bases loaded, two outs, the game tied and a nasty reliever on the mound — and win the game.

That’s what Chris Iannetta did for the Angels on Opening Day. In fact, on a team with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout, he accounted for all the runs and 33.3 percent of the hits. He took Johnny Cueto deep in the third — the only blemish in seven innings for the Reds’ ace right-hander — then notched the game-winning two-run single in the 13th off J.J. Hoover. Oh, and he was behind the plate for 13 innings, working with seven different pitchers on a three-hitter.

Asked how his legs felt coming up to the plate in the 13th, Iannetta shrugged it off (as usual).

“Not bad,” he said. “If it was hot, if it was the middle of the summer, it’d be a little bit tougher, with the heat and humidity. But not too bad when it’s a little cooler out.”

Asked what he was looking to do against Hoover, Iannetta smiled.

“Not strike out.”

Iannetta had struck out his previous three times up. But against Hoover, he fouled off back-to-back 3-2 fastballs, then got one out over the plate and lined it to left field to eventually give the Angels an Opening Day win.

“That’s a great at-bat,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He gets ball one, then he swings at two pitches that probably could’ve been ball two and ball three. So he got himself in a hole, worked his way back in, fouled a couple pitches off, then hit a rocket. Chris had some opportunities tonight, came up big.”

In more ways than one.


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