TAMPA, Fla. - Taylor Widener notched his first win by leading the Tampa Yankees (12-18) to a 5-0 victory over the Charlotte Stone Crabs (14-15) on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Chris Gittens clubbed his second home run while Nick Solak finished a homer shy of the cycle in his second three-hit game of the season.
Widener (W, 1-3) worked around a pair of infield singles in the first inning and allowed only one other hit (a two-out double by Ryan Brett in the third) through five shutout frames. The right-hander issued one walk and struck out two batters while throwing 48 of 73 pitches for strikes.
Tampa claimed the lead in the second with the help of a Stone Crab miscue. Gittens reached on a slow roller toward the mound when Charlotte starter Eduar Lopez made a wide throw to first base. One out later, Gittens crossed the plate when Solak ripped an RBI double to the wall in left-centerfield.
Gittens added to the lead in the fourth with an opposite field home run. Later in the frame, Solak singled and scored on a two-out double by Jhalan Jackson.
Lopez (L, 2-3) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits over five innings pitched, striking out two without issuing a walk. The righty threw 43 of 78 pitches for strikes.
Solak collected his third hit in the sixth, hitting a line drive by the dive of right fielder Ryan Boldt for a one-out triple. Jackson followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead.
In the seventh, Jorge Mateo drilled a one-out single into left and promptly stole second, snapping a five-game stolen base drought. Two batters later, Gittens tacked on a run with a two-out, RBI single into right.
RHP Jose Mesa took the baton from Widener in the sixth and ran with it through three perfect relief innings. The 23-year-old tallied five strikeouts while retiring all nine batters he faced.
Tampa pitchers held the Stone Crabs hitless for five-straight innings until a two-out single by Brett Sullivan in the ninth. RHP Andrew Schwaab worked around that hit and a walk, picking up a strikeout to complete the shutout win.
Solak (3-for-3, 3B, 2B, BB, RBI, 2R) extended his on-base streak to 16 games, batting .365 (19-for-52) in that span. Gittens (2-for-4, HR, 2RBI, 2R) and Jackson (1-for-3, 2B, SF, 2RBI) logged a multi-RBI game apiece.
The series wraps up on Sunday with the rubber match set for 1:00 p.m. RHP Zack Littell (1-1, 1.71 ERA) is scheduled to start for Tampa against LHP Genesis Cabreera (2-3, 4.03 ERA) for Charlotte.
On "Kids Funday Sunday," kids ages 14-and-under can enjoy half-priced kids' meals and run the bases after the game. For tickets and more information, call (813) 673-3055 or visit www.tybaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.