3/23/2014 7:05 P.M. ET
McAllister solid on mound in loss to Angels
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Garrett Richards pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings, Albert Pujols hit his first triple in an Angels uniform -- Spring Training or regular season -- and the Halos won their fifth Cactus League game in a row, beating the Indians, 5-2, on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Richards, lined up to be the club's fourth starter, gave up three hits, walked three and struck out two while dropping his spring ERA to 3.50. The 25-year-old right-hander left the seventh with two on and one out, but Michael Kohn got a groundout and a strikeout to keep Cleveland scoreless.
"I felt good today," Richards said. "My body feels good. I got ahead of guys. Early ground balls were nice. Just pounding the zone."
One half-inning after making a diving stop on a groundball at first base, Pujols hit a deep drive to right-center field to plate Mike Trout and slid into third safely -- drawing a smile from ex-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who was watching from the press box. Josh Hamilton, who made a nice sliding catch in left-field foul territory in the sixth, followed with an RBI groundout, then gave the Angels their third run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
Zach McAllister, the Indians' No. 3 starter, gave up just those three runs in six innings, scattering six hits, walking one and striking out three -- five days after allowing six runs on nine hits in three innings.
"I felt good. I felt like I got into a rhythm and was able to locate some pitches pretty well," McAllister said. "I also had some pretty good defense behind me. [Mike] Aviles made a great play for me to make it a shorter inning for me. I was happy with it today. I felt like it was definitely one of the better ones for me this spring. That was nice to have."
Indians manager Terry Francona thought McAllister got stronger as the game wore on.
"I thought early, he threw a couple pitches that he may have got squeezed a little bit. It's Spring Training for everybody," Francona said. "And he made some mistakes to some pretty good hitters. But then, I thought he threw the ball the way he can, and that was really encouraging. That's where Spring Training comes in handy. You can take the good and, hopefully, learn from what didn't go right and then take it into the year."
Lonnie Chisenhall, competing with Carlos Santana for at-bats at third base, went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Nyjer Morgan, vying for a spot off the bench, went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored while starting in center field.
Trout landed awkwardly on a diving attempt in the third inning, then struck out looking in his next two plate appearances before exiting. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia "he's fine."
The Indians broke through in the eighth on a groundout by Joe Sever off of reliever Cory Rasmus.
Ian Stewart homered and Kaleb Cowart delivered an RBI single for the Angels in the eighth to make it 5-1.
In the ninth, David Cooper made it a three-run deficit for the Tribe with an RBI single.
Up next: The race for the final spot in Cleveland's rotation will continue on Monday, when right-hander Carlos Carrasco takes the mound against the Reds in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash. Carrasco, who allowed eight runs (five earned) in his last outing, is scheduled to log six innings. Bullpen hopefuls C.C. Lee and Blake Wood are also slated to pitch, along with setup man Cody Allen. Listen live to an exclusive webcast on Indians.com or MLB.TV.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.