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Nick Tepesch brings his game home to Mo.

6/24/2013

ST. LOUIS -- Three years ago, Nick Tepesch was a student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, surrounded by Cardinals fans. He spent many nights watching Adam Wainwright on television.

Making the 14th start of his major league career Sunday night, the 24-year-old Tepesch, now with the Texas Rangers, got a much closer view of the Cardinals’ ace:

They shared the same mound.

Tepesch matched zeros with Wainwright long enough that his teammates were able to rally once again and complete a sweep of the three-game series against their opponent in the 2011 World Series with a 2-1 victory. The win also extended their winning streak to five games.

Tepesch, from the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo., was making his first start in his home state, in front of many family members and friends.

“I was happy,” said Tepesch, who rebounded from three poor starts to keep the Cardinals scoreless until the sixth, when he allowed a solo homer by Matt Carpenter.

“The biggest thing was executing pitches,” he said. “I just made the one bad pitch, and I didn’t think it was that bad, to be honest with you. Maybe it could have gotten a little further in.”

Tepesch said he was not concentrating as much on the fact that Wainwright was pitching for the Cardinals as he was on what he needed to do when he was on the mound.

“He’s a great pitcher,” Tepesch said, “one of the best in the game. It’s fun to go out there and compete against guys like him.”

Tepesch did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, when David Freese lined a single to left. That was one of only four hits Tepesch allowed in 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

“He did a tremendous job tonight, especially going against Wainwright,” said Texas manager Ron Washington. “He matched his zeros for a long period of time, and we finally broke through and put a run on the board.

“He had a good sinker, a good slider. He moved the ball around. He had good focus out there tonight and did a good job, he certainly did.”

Tepesch knows he has come a long way from those days three years ago at Missouri, when he and teammate Aaron Crow were cheering for the Kansas City Royals while all of their friends were Cardinals fans.

“It seemed like me and Aaron were the only two Royals fans,” Tepesch said. “We could hardly get their games on television. We were stuck watching the Cardinals quite a bit. That was OK with me, because I just liked watching baseball.

“Back then, this was what you were working for. I still have a lot of work to do. The hard work is not over.”