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Romero goes three frames, LaRoche homers in loss

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Rick Porcello continued to pitch like a young man with something to prove Friday, tossing five solid innings as the Tigers topped the Blue Jays, 4-2, before 9,941 at sun-drenched Marchant Stadium.

"You're only as a good as your last outing -- you've got to go out and prove yourself every time," said the 24-year-old Porcello, who has been a member of the Tigers' starting staff since 2009 but who is nevertheless locked in a battle with lefty Drew Smyly for the fifth spot in that rotation. "Every time you take the mound, it's a fresh start."

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Ricky Romero was less successful in his outing for the Blue Jays, yielding three runs on five hits in three innings, including a home run by Jhonny Peralta. He did have four strikeouts versus two walks in his fourth start of the spring.

"It got better, I'm going to take the positives out of this," Romero said. "I'm not going to sit here and talk about the stuff that went wrong. I think it's time that I start looking at the positives.

"I made some good pitches in big situations. I made a good pitch to Victor Martinez, behind in the count, 2-1, a little unlucky there in the third inning. Some balls that weren't hit very hard, but it happens, and like I said, I got better as the game went on. A little rough first inning, but after that I think I recovered pretty good."

Toronto got a homer of its own off Porcello when Andy LaRoche blasted a ball to left field to put the Blue Jays on the board in the second. Toronto's second run came in the fourth, when Colby Rasmus singled to right, scoring Emilio Bonifacio.

In total, the Blue Jays got two runs and four hits off Porcello, who struck out four Blue Jays and walked none.

"My remaining appearances are all good opportunities to show what I can do," he said. "I came to camp strong, as strong as I have ever come to camp. And I think my mechanics are a lot stronger than they've been in years past. It's taken a couple of years to get back to throwing the ball like I have in the past."

Up next: J.A. Happ is scheduled to take the mound when the Blue Jays host Baltimore in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Saturday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, available on Gameday Audio. Right-hander Sergio Santos will also make his return following a week-long absence because of soreness in his right triceps muscle. Other pitchers scheduled to appear include Steve Delabar, Aaron Loup and Chad Jenkins.

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to

Toronto Blue Jays, Andy LaRoche, Ricky Romero