Tigers' offense gives Jays' pitching fits
Inge, Raburn launch homers in victory over Toronto
TIGERS 8, BLUE JAYS 2
at Dunedin, Fla.
Monday, March 22
Blue Jays at the plate: Randy Ruiz, in the starting lineup as the designated hitter for Toronto, launched his third home run of the spring. In the second inning, Ruiz drilled a pitch deep to left for a no-doubt two-run blast. First baseman Lyle Overbay doubled and then scored on the homer. Leadoff man Jose Bautista collected his fifth double of the spring.
Tigers at the plate: Detroit pieced together four consecutive hits during a three-run outburst in the first inning. Highlighting the frame was a three-run homer off the bat of Brandon Inge -- his first shot of the spring. First baseman Ryan Raburn added a solo blast in the fourth. Austin Jackson contributed an RBI triple, while Carlos Guillen and Gerald Laird added one RBI apiece.
Blue Jays on the mound: Left-hander Brian Tallet -- the leading candidate to occupy the fifth spot within Toronto's starting staff -- endured a rough outing against the Tigers. Tallet surrendered five runs on five hits (two home runs) and ended with one strikeout and one walk. Tallet threw 76 pitches, including 46 strikes. Righty Josh Roenicke allowed three runs (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
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Tigers on the mound: Left-hander Nate Robertson, who is vying for a spot in Detroit's rotation, logged 4 1/3 innings against the Jays. Robertson allowed two runs on five hits, including one home run, and finished with four strikeouts and two walks in the outing. Dontrelle Willis and Jose Valverde each turned in one shutout inning for the Tigers.
Worth noting: The Jays' lineup on Monday had Bautista at third base and in the leadoff spot, followed by second baseman Aaron Hill, left fielder Adam Lind, center fielder Vernon Wells, Overbay, catcher John Buck, Ruiz, right fielder Travis Snider and shortstop Alex Gonzalez. If third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (left wrist) is not ready for Opening Day, Toronto may begin the season with a similar batting order. Encarnacion took part in a Minor League game on Monday. ... In his last start, Willis did not reach 90 mph on the radar gun with any of his pitches. On Monday, the lefty was clocked between 90-93 mph on eight of the first 10 pitches he threw.
Grapefruit League records: Blue Jays, 9-7; Tigers, 11-8.
Up next: After an off-day on Tuesday, the Blue Jays will head to Port Charlotte, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET road contest against the Rays. Lefty Dana Eveland, who is trying to stay in the hunt for a rotation job, will start for the Blue Jays. Righty Jeff Niemann will take the hill for Tampa Bay.
The Tigers have their lone home night game of the spring Tuesday, when the Nationals visit for a 6:05 p.m. start at Joker Marchant Stadium. Detroit's Max Scherzer will be back in Major League action for the first time in almost two weeks when he makes the start opposite Scott Olsen.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.