Bautista goes deep; Tigers get to Norris, Rasmussen

Bautista goes deep; Tigers get to Norris, Rasmussen

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.

Norris allowed three runs on four hits and one walk in two-plus innings.

"Just keep building off this," Norris said of his next step. "Honestly, it felt good out there. Just made pitches when I needed to in the second inning. They started swinging earlier in the count and I was around the zone. That ground ball through third base and the blooper over first base, those are the results of swinging at fastballs.

"In the third inning, I came out and threw a first-pitch curveball to [Rajai] Davis. Me and [manager John Gibbons] talked about it in the second. He said, 'Hey, start him with an offspeed. Let him know it's there.' Got ahead, then went into a battle with him."

Up next for the Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey will make his second official start of the spring when the Blue Jays host the Twins on Tuesday afternoon at 1:07 p.m. ET. Dickey is expected to increase his workload to either three or four innings, and he will be followed on the mound by Wilton Lopez, Scott Barnes, Steve Delabar, Kyle Drabek and Gregory Infante. Of the five relievers, it would appear as though Lopez, Delabar and Drabek have the best shot at cracking the Opening Day roster.

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.