LAKELAND, Fla. -- On the day the Tigers held their annual Spring Training tryout camp, their find from last year's tryouts was a game-changer. Wynton Bernard hit a go-ahead two-run single, stole second base and scored an insurance run in a three-run seventh-inning rally that sent Detroit past Toronto for a 6-4 win Monday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Bernard was a free agent, having just been released from the Padres' organization, when he arrived at tryouts last March. The Tigers signed him out of the workout, watched him earn a reserve spot at low Class A West Michigan, then saw him win Midwest League MVP honors in a standout season for the Whitecaps.
Bernard stepped to the plate in the seventh inning against Blue Jays lefty Rob Rasmussen with a 4-3 Detroit deficit after Dalton Pompey tripled in a run and scored another. Bernard's liner scored James McCann and Harold Castro. His ensuing stolen base set up Daniel Fields to plate him with a single to right-center.
Unlike Sunday, when Tigers pitchers were unable to retire the side in order in any inning, Detroit's bullpen kept the game close with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief from Kyle Ryan, Joe Nathan and Ian Krol. They combined to retire seven consecutive Blue Jays before former Tigers prospect Devon Travis hit a ground-rule double.
Travis, who was in Tigers camp last year before being traded this past offseason for Anthony Gose, went 2-for-4. Former Tiger Ramon Santiago also had two hits, including an RBI single off starter Anibal Sanchez. Jose Bautista nearly homered off Sanchez in the opening inning, but he didn't miss in the third, sending a drive well up the left-field berm for his first homer of the spring.
Gose answered by haunting his old team, turning a deflected comebacker off Jays starter Daniel Norris into an RBI standup double into short left field. Gose wasn't done there, swiping third base on the throw from catcher Dioner Navarro to Norris, then scoring when Norris' throw to third went wild.
Up next for Tigers: Jose Iglesias is tentatively scheduled to return to Detroit's starting lineup and play alongside double-play partner Ian Kinsler as the Tigers visit the Phillies. Alfredo Simon is the scheduled starter for the 1:05 p.m. ET game in Clearwater, Fla., live on MLB.TV, MLB Network, Gameday Audio and AM 1270 in Detroit.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.