Joey Votto's first hit of the season was not a work of baseball art, but it was a game winner.

Votto's single in the ninth lifted the Reds to a 5-4, walkoff win over the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Night Wednesday before a crowd of 35,257 at Great American Ball Park.

Left-hander Scott Downs hit Shin-Soo Choo with the first pitch of the Reds' ninth. Chris Heisey sacrificed Choo to second. The Angels chose to pitch to Votto. He lined the first pitch hard at first baseman Albert Pujols. It got under his glove for the game-winner.

Votto wasn't expecting to be walked, even though the Angels walked him in a similar situation on Opening Day.

"No," he said. "I try to be ready for whatever I'm presented with. I've been presumptuous earlier in my career and I think it's burned me. I deal with what's in front of me."

The Reds lost in 13 innings on Opening Day and had let a 4-0 lead get away in this one, so the win felt very nice.

"You want that first one," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You want that first victory. You don't want to fall too far behind the other teams."

Baker, who caught some flak for using the sacrifice bunt on Opening Day, didn't hesitate to use it again in the ninth. He guessed -- correctly -- that the Angels would pitch to Votto.

"They didn't have a right-hander ready," Baker said. "I certainly couldn't let Heisey hit into a double play. You've got to put that man in scoring position. I did the same thing (Monday). It didn't work. But everybody's got a job to do. It's not all Joey Votto or else you're not going to win the pennant. Everybody has to come through at some point in time.

"I figured they were going to take their shot. If they got Joey out, they were going to walk Brandon (Phillips) and get to Bruce."