Hairston's early homer doesn't hold up for Cubs

Takahashi allows three runs over three innings against Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lance Berkman hit his first home run of the spring and the Rangers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday.

Robbie Ross continued his bid for a spot in the Rangers' rotation by holding the Cubs to one run in four innings. The only run came on Scott Hairston's first-inning home run as he allowed four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out one. Ross has a 3.00 ERA this spring and opponents are hitting .257 off him.

Cubs left-hander Hisanori Takahashi is trying to win a spot in the bullpen and made his first start of the spring. Takahashi worked three innings and allowed three runs on five hits and two walks. He did strike out four but his spring ERA is 5.14 and opponents are hitting .320 off him.

"It's been a while since I started, maybe two or three years," Takahashi said. "I'm happy to be able to pitch those innings, but I think there are areas I could fix, especially the two walks and the home run I allowed. There are parts for improvement."

The Rangers scored two runs off Takahashi in the second inning and it all started with three straight singles from left-handed hitters: David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland. Ian Kinsler also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Berkman then hit a home run off Takhashi in the third inning.

David DeJesus led off the game with a single for the Cubs, snapping an 0-for-10 skid to start the spring.

Cubs up next: Carlos Villanueva pitches for the Cubs against the White Sox at 2:05 p.m. CT on Thursday, live on an exclusive audio webcast, at HoHoKam Park. Villaneuva is trying to nail down a spot in the rotation after injuries to Scott Baker and Matt Garza. He has made two starts and has allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. This is the only visit to HoHoKam for the Cubs' crosstown rivals.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.