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Estrada solid in Brewers' spring finale victory

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MILWAUKEE -- Marco Estrada pitched five shutout innings and the Brewers beat the Royals, 7-2, on Saturday in the final Spring Training game for each team.

Estrada, the Brewers' No. 4 starter, retired the final 10 batters he faced and finished the spring 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA in six starts. The right-hander is expected to take his next turn on Friday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

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"I still consider him a young guy. I know he's pitched three years in the big leagues," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I like to see a guy in his position, he is coming in and still going at it like he's earning himself a job. He's certainly done that this spring. We feel great going into the season with him. These guys [Royals], they always hit well in Spring Training. They are a good lineup. Every time he pitches against them he really does a nice job. It's because he locates the ball well and changes speed well."

"He threw good," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He mixed pitches a lot and was down in the zone. He made good pitches when he had to and kept those guys off-balance. His changeup is the equalizer. When he's locating that like today, good luck."

Lucroy had the key hit, slugging a 99-mph fastball from Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura to the center-field-wall for a double to score a pair of runs in the third and give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.

Logan Schafer went 3-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored. He walked in the third and scored on Lucroy's double, and hit a two-run single in the eighth.

"It's hard to keep Schaf out of there right now. [Khris] Davis will probably play Opening Night and we'll see where we are," Roenicke said. "But Schaf, he can play. He's always going to play good defense, but this guy can hit, too. He can hit and he can do all the little things. We'll see how much playing time we give everybody, but he's certainly showed he can go out there and do the job."

The Royals avoided the shutout as Ramon Hernandez delivered an RBI double with one out in the ninth off reliever Francisco Rodriguez. Whit Merrifield scored after leading off with a double. Hernandez scored on Justin Maxwell's two-out single.

Ventura and Jeremy Guthrie each pitched three innings. Ventura needed 74 pitches to get through his outing, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five.

Guthrie pitched four innings against mostly Brewers reserves or players who will start the season in the Minor Leagues. The right-hander allowed three runs, including a solo home run to Michael Ratterree in the seventh.

Ratterree, a 10th-round choice in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft from Rice, was the Pioneer League's Most Valuable Player in 2013. The 23-year-old outfielder hit .314 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs in 65 games.

The Royals finished the spring with a 12-16-2 record while the Brewers went 13-18.

Up next: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will try to rebound from an inconsistent 2013 season when he makes his fifth consecutive Opening Day start for the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. CT on Monday against the Braves at Miller Park. Gallardo is 0-2 with a 5.81 ERA in his previous four Opening Day starts.

Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to

Milwaukee Brewers, Marco Estrada, Jonathan Lucroy, Logan Schafer