Cubs get pop from Russell, fine 'D' from Ross

Cubs get pop from Russell, fine 'D' from Ross

MESA, Ariz. -- Addison Russell belted a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning Friday to lift the Cubs to a 3-0 victory over the Angels at Sloan Park in front of 15,446, which set a single-game Cactus League record.

Russell, who hit 13 home runs last year, connected off Jose Alvarez to drive in Javier Baez, who had singled with one out.

Box score

Veteran catcher David Ross made the play of the game in the top of the fourth when the 38-year-old snared Cliff Pennington's foul popup with a diving catch, then threw out C.J. Cron at second for an inning-ending double play. Ross, playing his final season, got high-fives from everyone in the Cubs' dugout.

"It's just one of those things that it just kind of happened," Ross said. "I want to test myself. I was nervous going into the game. I want to play well. Like I've said, I don't want to be a weak link on this team."

Must C: Ross' acrobatic catch

The Angels' Jered Weaver, hoping to get back on track after a 7-12 season last year, struck out three of the eight batters he faced and gave up two hits, both singles, over two innings in his first Cactus League start.

"I felt good," Weaver said. "First one was kind of to get the timing of the game again. It'd be real easy to go out there and rush, but I've been doing that for a little while. I just want to concentrate on throwing strikes."

Weaver fans Russell in the 2nd

Pitching prospect Pierce Johnson started for the Cubs, and he gave up singles to the first two Angels batters, then retired Mike Trout on a deep fly ball that was caught by center fielder Dexter Fowler on the warning track. Johnson retired the next two batters, and Stephen Fife took over in the second, throwing two scoreless innings.

Andrelton Simmons, making his Angels debut, went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter. He has not played shortstop yet because of a sore arm, but Simmons is expected to start in the field on Saturday.

Up next for Cubs: Trevor Cahill will start Saturday when the Cubs host the Reds. The right-hander was a key part of Chicago's bullpen last year, posting a 2.12 ERA over his final 11 games. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CT (listen on Gameday Audio).

Up next for Angels: Andrew Heaney makes his spring debut, opposite fellow lefty Wade Miley, when the Angels travel to Peoria Sports Complex to face the division-rival Mariners at 12:10 p.m. PT on Saturday (watch on MLB.TV). Simmons is expected to start his first game for the Angels at shortstop. The Mariners are led by first-year skipper Scott Servais, who spent the past four years as an assistant general manager with the Angels. Former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is now the GM in Seattle.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.