- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was roughed up for four runs in five innings Thursday, and the Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 6-4.

After quickly retiring the Tigers in order in the first, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs in the second on a single by James McCann and a throwing error by center fielder Kevin Pillar.

Jose Iglesias hit an RBI single against Dickey in the fourth. Nick Castellanos homered in the fifth.

The 41-year-old Dickey yielded eight hits, walked one and struck out five on 100 pitches. He has a 5.02 ERA in four exhibition games.

“I couldn’t really be more pleased with today’s outing,” he said. “You know, you try not to look at the results, really. And in a scenario like that, I wanted to get to 100 pitches and was able to do that. I was able to maintain my velocity through pitch 100 and felt great - could have gone right back out there.”

Justin Smoak hit his fourth homer of spring training, connecting off starter Matt Boyd.

Blue Jays star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who left Wednesday’s game against the Mets after being hit on the right hand with a pitch, took the day off. He said he will hit in the batting cage Friday and could return to the lineup before the end of the week.

“It was obviously scary for me because when you get hit in the hand, anything can happen,” Tulowitzki said. “Luckily, everything is OK.”

STARTING TIME

Tigers: Boyd struggled through 3 1-3 innings, allowing four runs - three earned - and seven hits. The right-hander walked two and struck out three.

Blue Jays: Dickey said he expects to make one more start on the minor league side to fine tune before the season.

“Much like a marathoner, you’re just kind of tapering,” he said. “So instead of running a full marathon, I’ll probably run a 5K or something - a two-or three-inning thing just to make sure all the parts are working like they should and then it’ll be time to go. I’ll be ready.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Daniel Norris (back tightness) will start the season on the disabled list and is scheduled to visit a specialist for further tests, manager Brad Ausmus said. Norris, who was in competition for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, was removed from Tuesday’s loss to Toronto in the first after just 26 pitches.

Blue Jays: 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (strained oblique) will take batting practice Friday and should play in a minor league game within the next couple days. Manager John Gibbons said the slugger is still on track to play in the April 3 opener at Tampa Bay, but any further delays will alter that outlook.

“We should be able to pull it off, but if he’s not going to be ready, then he won’t be ready,” Gibbons said. “At this moment, the way everything is set up, he should be okay.”

SOME KIND OF BLUNDERFUL

To say Pillar’s first-inning run for Toronto came in an unconventional matter would be an understatement.

After Pillar singled leading off the game, Boyd had him picked off at first base, but Iglesias bobbled the throw at second. Then, Boyd caught Pillar again, but the throw to third sailed past Castellanos’ glove into left field, allowing Pillar to come all the way around to score with ease.

UP NEXT

Tigers: Shane Greene gets his third start Friday against the Braves in Lakeland. The right-hander has 14 strikeouts in 13 2-3 innings, including four in his last outing, also against Atlanta.

Blue Jays: Marco Estrada is to make his second start, against the Phillies in Clearwater. The right-hander, who was sidelined the first four weeks of with a sore back, allowed two runs against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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