All eyes were on top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon heading into Thursday's Florida State League matchup between Bradenton and Charlotte, but it was his opponent that stole the spotlight.
Stone Crabs pitcher Enny Romero allowed just a double and struck out nine over six innings as Charlotte shut out the Marauders, 3-0, in a rain-shortened six-inning win.
Tampa Bay's No. 8 prospect was perfect through five frames before Bradenton designated hitter Kirk Singer doubled to open the sixth. Romero (5-6) also issued a walk to shortstop Gift Ngoepe before striking out center fielder Mel Rojas to preserve the shutout in what proved to be the final inning of the game.
Taillon (6-8) had been the talk of the league after his last two outings, back-to-back one-hit scoreless starts totaling 12 innings against Lakeland and Palm Beach.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft pitched well again Thursday, allowing just Riccio Torrez's homer in the fourth over five innings of work.
But Romero was able to best him with his two primary pitches.
"I worked on my delivery inside yesterday," he said. "I threw 25 pitches, only fastballs and changeups, and I tried to get a greater command on those pitches coming into tonight's game."
Romero has experienced some control difficulties this season, walking four or more batters is six consecutive starts from June 26 to July 30. He has settled down of late, though, striking out 13 while registering just one walk in each of his past two starts.
The left-hander said he knew he had little room for error with Taillon on the mound opposite him.
"He's a good pitcher," Romero said. "[He has a] good fastball, good changeup, good slider. [He's] definitely a tough prospect to face."