Jays struggle in support of Rzepczynski

Jays struggle in support of Rzepczynski

TIGERS (ss) 5, BLUE JAYS 1
at Lakeland, Fla.
Thursday, March 25

Blue Jays at the plate: Toronto scored its first run without a base hit thanks to two walks, a double steal and a Vernon Wells sac fly. John McDonald and Edwin Encarnacion had Toronto's only two hits through the first eight innings.

Tigers at the plate: Miguel Cabrera doubled in two runs in the opening inning with a solid double into the gap in right-center field. Carlos Guillen doubled in two more runs in the seventh.

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Blue Jays on the mound: Starter Marc Rzepczynski overcame early control woes to last five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Josh Roenicke pitched a perfect sixth inning before Scott Downs gave up two runs in the seventh.

Tigers on the mound: Starter Dontrelle Willis battled his command for much of his four innings, walking the first two batters he faced and throwing a couple pitches to the backstop. However, his damage control and ability to change speeds limited Toronto to a run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He topped out on one pitch at 94 mph on the stadium radar gun, while hitting 92 several other times. Joel Zumaya hit 101, 100 and 100 mph on his first three pitches en route to a hitless sixth inning.

Worth noting: Encarnacion was making his first start of the spring.

Grapefruit League records: Blue Jays 9-9, Tigers 13-8-1

Up next: After Justin Verlander missed out on his last start with Sunday's rainout, he'll be back on the mound against big league competition and on national television and MLB.TV on Friday for a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. Verlander will make the start opposite Dearborn, Mich., native Derek Lowe. Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez are among the Tigers regulars scheduled to make the trip. ESPN will have the broadcast.

The Blue Jays will play a pair of games Friday -- one against the Red Sox on the road and another at home against the Rays. In Fort Myers, Fla., lefty Brett Cecil will start against Boston in a 1:05 p.m. tilt. Opening Day starter Shaun Marcum will take the hill against Tampa Bay at 1:05 p.m. at Dunedin Stadium.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.