Aybar, Pujols back Richards' scoreless outing

Aybar, Pujols back Richards' scoreless outing

Aybar, Pujols back Richards' scoreless outing
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Garrett Richards struck out six in four shutout innings and Albert Pujols hit his third home run in as many games as the Angels beat the Indians, 7-0, on Friday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Richards, 23, is one of a handful of Angels pitchers in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation. The rookie has now allowed just two earned runs in eight innings in three Cactus League starts.

"Right now, I just stick to thirds, work the ball in and out, change speeds," Richards said. "My slider was my strikeout pitch today. I threw some good changeups today. Later on, my two-seam kind of came back to me. And the four-seam, throwing the ball in to lefties and away to righties, felt good. Today, I felt like I could throw anything for a strike."

Angels leadoff hitter Erick Aybar homered on the second pitch of the first inning from Cleveland starter Kevin Slowey, and Pujols' solo blast to left-center field came two batters later.

Slowey's final line was three earned runs on five hits in three innings, with two strikeouts and one walk.

The Angels tacked on another run in the third when Aybar singled and came around to score on an RBI single from Torii Hunter.

Angels catcher Chris Iannetta left after taking a foul ball off his throwing arm in the second inning. He has a right elbow bruise and is day to day. He was replaced by Alberto Rosario, who went 0-for-2.

Angels up next: After a split-squad afternoon on Friday, the Angels will take on the Brewers on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. PT in Tempe. Right-hander Jered Weaver, who stood out in an 18-8 season with a 2.41 ERA last year, will oppose Milwaukee's Mike Fiers. The game will be broadcast on MLB.TV.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.