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Bautista's bat helps Blue Jays tame Tigers


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista recorded his third home run of the spring, as the Blue Jays roughed up Doug Fister in a 4-2 victory over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Bautista came to bat in the first with a runner on and immediately put Toronto in front with a deep shot over the wall in left field. He is now tied with Andy LaRoche for the team lead in homers, while also posting five RBIs and five walks in nine games.

Toronto's slugger then struck again in the fourth with a double to right field which sparked another rally. Fister struggled with his command in that frame and proceeded to walk the bases loaded before being lifted from the game.

Tigers right-hander Trevor Bell came out of the bullpen and allowed an RBI single to Maicer Izturis and a sacrifice fly to Henry Blanco, which extended the Blue Jays' lead to 4-2. Fister was charged with all four runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out five.

Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero battled control problems on the mound during his third start of the spring. He threw just 27 of his 47 pitches for strikes, while walking three and surrendering two runs (one earned) over two frames.

Detroit's Andy Dirks opened the scoring off Romero in the first inning with a solo shot to right-center field. It was his first home run of the spring and second RBI in eight Grapefruit League games.

Romero's biggest woes occurred in the second. He allowed a one-out double to Alex Avila, which would have led to an RBI, but Bautista and Adam Lind combined on a nice relay throw to get Brayan Pena at the plate. Romero then proceeded to walk a pair of batters, but the lone run in the inning was unearned -- thanks to an error by shortstop Ryan Goins.

"I felt a little off, compared to my first two starts," Romero said. "I felt like I was rushing pretty much all game, and I have to make that adjustment quick. Obviously, three walks, that's what kills you -- and if there's anything I'm disappointed about, it's that."

Up next: Left-hander J.A. Happ will get the start when Toronto hosts the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Sunday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Happ, who has allowed two runs in six innings this spring, is expected to be followed by Brett Cecil, Ramon Ortiz and Alex Hinshaw. Regulars such as Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus also are expected to be in the starting lineup.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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