Richards pitches well, Angels beat Brewers

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Garrett Richards certainly pitched well enough to warrant a spot in the Angels’ rotation. Whether there is room for him remains to be seen.

Richards worked into the seventh inning, the longest outing by an Angels pitcher this spring, to lead a Los Angeles split squad over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 on Saturday.

The right-hander allowed one run and three hits over 6 1-3 innings in his fourth Cactus League outing and second start. He struck out five and left to a big ovation.

“You couldn’t ask for much more than the way he’s pitched,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “There’s no doubt that his stuff plays well in the major leagues. We’ll see how everything plays out. Garrett is putting himself in a great spot, whether it’s in the bullpen or in the rotation.”

Richards, who turns 25 in May, went 4-3 with a 4.69 ERA for the Angels in 2012. He appeared in 30 games and made nine starts.

Richards and Jerome Williams are projected to be the odd men out of the rotation after the Angels acquired Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas during the offseason to complement holdovers Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.

“I felt I’ve done everything I can possibly do,” Richards said when asked if he thought he’d make the team. “I’m figuring it out. I’m happy with where my delivery is right now.”

A day earlier, Scioscia said he wasn’t completely satisfied with his rotation at this stage of the spring. Los Angeles starters have an ERA above 7.00.

Richards allowed a triple to Jean Segura leading off the fourth. Segura scored on Aramis Ramirez’s double.

Brewers starter Marco Estrada worked five innings, allowing two hits and two earned runs.

Estrada, who was 5-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 29 appearances (23 starts) with Milwaukee last year, walked three and struck out four in his fifth appearance and fourth start of the spring. He was questionable with a stomach ailment before the game.

“I felt that my rhythm was starting to come back,” Estrada said. “I hate walking people. The first inning I was a little out of whack, but I felt a lot better after. I had body aches two days ago. The body aches are over with. My stomach is uneasy, but it didn’t affect me too much. The adrenaline got going and I forgot about it.”

The Angels scored two runs in the first. Mike Trout led off with a single and Erick Aybar walked. Trout scored on a passed ball, and Howie Kendrick tripled in Aybar.

Estrada pitched for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this month. Last season he recovered from an 0-5 start and went 5-2 with a 2.03 ERA over his last eight starts.

“I think he pitched very well,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Coming in I didn’t think he was going to get past an inning or two. But once he got to the bullpen he was fine.”

NOTES: Before the game, the Brewers optioned RHP Michael Olmstead to Triple-A Nashville.