Chris Iannetta’s walk-off HR lifts Angels past A’s in 12
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chris Iannetta is no stranger to the moment but even he was a bit surprised by his results Wednesday night.
The ball doesn’t carry particularly well at Angel Stadium at night, but Iannetta got just enough of a Drew Pomeranz pitch to lift the Angels to a 5-4 win over Oakland in 12 innings.
Even in the dugout, there were some reservations when Angels players heard the ball come off of the bat of Iannetta. They didn’t think the ball was going to get out but it kept carrying, barely over the wall in center field and just off the glove of A’s center fielder Craig Gentry.
"Angel Stadium, at night, you never know," Iannetta said, "and Gentry’s a really good outfielder and he almost jumped out of the gym on that one. I think it went off of his glove so I was very thankful he didn’t make an awesome play."
The solo home run, Iannetta’s second of the season, is the sixth walk-off hit and the fourth walk-off homer of his career.
"They’re awesome," he said of walk-off hitting moments. "It’s a great feeling. I mean, it really is, especially when you know you hit a home run or you know you got it as soon as you make contact. I knew I hit this one well but Angel Stadium at night, you never really know. It’s a great feeling. It’ll never get old."
It was very much needed for the Angels who suffered tough back-to-back, come-from-behind losses to the two-time defending American League West champions and found themselves in extra innings for the second consecutive night.
The bullpen had its issues in the first two losses against the A’s, but spirits remained high in the Angels clubhouse with the thought that it was playing good baseball despite not having wins to show for it.
Wednesday, Iannetta gave the Angels something to show for their efforts.
It was also a bounce-back night for the bullpen. After taking the loss in the first two nights of the series and allowing seven runs, they pitched six innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball Wednesday.
Setup man Joe Smith, after having what he called the worst game of his life on Tuesday, was back on the hill in the 12th inning and posted a zero. Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was encouraged after making calls to the bullpen during Wednesday night’s win to hear Smith and Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, who didn’t make an appearance Wednesday, both wanted the ball.
"If you’re going to be considered the back end guys, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be one of those guys that’s scared to take the ball," Smith said. "It doesn’t matter how bad the night before was. Our job is to come in when the game’s on the line and the situation is tough and get out of it.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) April 17, 2014
The Angels get a split on their six-game homestand. Four of the six games went to extra innings, marking the first time the club has had four extra inning affairs on one homestand since 1975. The Halos were 2-2 in the extra inning tilts thanks to Iannetta’s walk-off Wednesday.
"It’d be nice to score one more run than the other team earlier than extra innings but as long as we win, we’ll play as many as it takes," Iannetta said.