Rzepczynski solid, Jays steady in win
Starter throws two scoreless frames as offense knocks 15 hits
BLUE JAYS 9, TIGERS 7
at Lakeland, Fla.
Thursday, March 4
Blue Jays at the plate: Consecutive singles from Mike McCoy, Jeremy Reed, Brian Dopirak and Randy Ruiz keyed a three-run third-inning to account for Toronto's early scoring. Dopirak added another single in the fifth, while McCoy added a walk. Offseason trade acquisition Brett Wallace earned his first hit for the Jays with a seventh-inning single that drove in a run. Catching prospect J.P. Arencibia put Toronto back on top for good with a two-run homer in the ninth.
Tigers at the plate: Infield prospect Brent Dlugach hit second home run in as many days, this one another opposite-field shot, to tie the game in the seventh inning. Leadoff man Austin Jackson walked twice and singled. Magglio Ordonez's RBI single capped a two-out rally in the third to open Detroit's scoring before Audy Ciriaco singled in two runs in the fourth. Adam Everett added an RBI single in the fifth.
Blue Jays on the mound: Starter Marc Rzepczynski began his candidacy for a Jays rotation spot by tossing a pair of scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout before the Tigers roughed up Ray Gonzalez for four runs on five hits in his two innings. Top prospect Kyle Drabek made his Jays debut with two runs on three hits over two innings with three strikeouts. Zach Jackson's return to the organization began with four strikeouts over two innings of relief to earn the victory after Dlugach's homer earned him a blown save.
Tigers on the mound: The highlight of the day came from Dontrelle Willis, who made a good first impression in his Spring Training debut with two scoreless innings with two walks and two strikeouts, overcoming leadoff walks in both innings. Starter Rick Porcello retired all six batters he faced before the Jays welcomed Max Scherzer to the American League with their three-run third, part of six hits he allowed over two innings. Arencibia's homer was one of four hits allowed by Zach Miner, who took the loss.
Worth noting: Drabek is the son of Doug Drabek, who pitched for Tigers manager Jim Leyland when he was in Pittsburgh from 1987-92. Leyland said he talked with the younger Drabek, who he remembers as a little kid.
Grapefruit League records: Tigers 1-1, Blue Jays 1-1.
Up next: The Tigers and the Astros have a full day of baseball ahead of them Friday with games in the morning and afternoon. Jacob Turner, Detroit's first-round Draft pick, will make his first game appearance in a Detroit uniform when he starts the "B" game at 10 a.m. ET on Kaline Field in the Tigertown complex. Fellow highly touted Draft pick Andy Oliver will follow him for Detroit. Felipe Paulino will start for Houston.
Later, Eddie Bonine will start the regular game at 1 p.m. at Joker Marchant Stadium opposite Wandy Rodriguez.
Brandon Morrow will make his Jays debut and start his candidacy for a rotation spot Friday, when Toronto faces the Phillies on Friday at 1:05 p.m. in Dunedin, Fla. Cole Hamels is slated to start for Philadelphia. Brad Mills will pitch in a "B" game at 10 a.m. in Clearwater opposite Jamie Moyer.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.