Maholm fans six Halos in solid start

Maholm fans six Halos in solid start

MESA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols belted his sixth spring home run for the Angels, but the Cubs scored the equalizing run in the sixth inning when Reed Johnson stole home to force a 3-3 tie on Saturday.

Howie Kendrick doubled with one out in the Angels' first and Pujols launched the first pitch from Paul Maholm to left to go ahead, 2-0. It's a good thing for Maholm that Pujols is now in the American League. In the regular season, Pujols has a career .564 (22-for-39) batting average against Maholm, including two home runs.

It wasn't all good for Pujols, who forgot how many outs there were in the fourth. He made the putout on Ian Stewart for the second out of the inning, then headed for the dugout. The crowd of 12,413 reminded Pujols of his gaffe.

Maholm struck out six over 4 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and walking one. His next outing will be Wednesday in a Minor League game at Fitch Park and then he'll join the big league team in Chicago for Opening Day festivities on Thursday.

Maholm said he felt a little off with his mechanics.

"They had a pretty decent lineup," Maholm said. "The first pitch to Pujols wasn't supposed to be right down the middle and it was. He's paid pretty well to do that."

Maholm won't have to face Pujols again until an Interleague matchup.

"There's a reason I made sure no [American League] West team was on my wish list," said Maholm, a free agent who signed with the Cubs this offseason.

With two outs in the Chicago fifth, Joe Mather doubled and scored on a fielding error by Kendrick, who couldn't get a glove on Alfredo Amezaga's hard-hit grounder.

Torii Hunter was safe on a fielding error by Darwin Barney and pinch-runner Roberto Lopez scored one batter later on Mark Trumbo's double in the Angels' sixth.

Tony Campana reached on a bunt single to open the Chicago sixth, stole second, moved up on a groundout and scored on Blake DeWitt's groundout to close to 3-2. Johnson walked and Steve Clevenger singled. During Mather's at-bat, Johnson and Clevenger both broke, and Johnson stole home before Clevenger was out in a rundown, tying the game at 3.

Angels starter Garrett Richards gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits over six innings in his fifth spring start.

Up next for the Cubs: Lefty Chris Rusin will start on Sunday when the Cubs travel to Tempe to face the Angels for the second straight day at 3:05 p.m. CT. A fourth-round Draft pick in 2009, Rusin was 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA at Double-A Tennessee last year and 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs' lineup will be David DeJesus in right, Darwin Barney at second, Starlin Castro at short, Alfonso Soriano in left, Bryan LaHair at first, Ian Stewart at third, Marlon Byrd in center, Geovany Soto as the designated hitter, and Steve Clevenger catching. The game will be broadcast on Cubs.com.

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