Extra Bases: Tepesch putting in solid work

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
9:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- What might get lost in the Texas Rangers' 3-2, 14-inning win Tuesday night over the Tampa Bay Rays is Nick Tepesch's outing.

The right-hander pitched well enough to earn a victory, but didn’t. He went seven strong innings, giving up two runs on four hits while throwing 102 pitches in a no-decision.

“I felt like I had good stuff all night,” Tepesch said. “Commanding my fastball the last two outings really was [key] for me. Commanding my fastball [and] everything else plays off that.”

[+] EnlargeNick Tepesch
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezNick Tepesch said commanding his fastball was key to his seven strong innings Tuesday night.
Consistency is what Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux preaches to his group. Tepesch has applied what Maddux is talking about is and getting outs.

In his past three starts, the 25-year-old has given up just five earned runs in 18⅔ innings, lowering his ERA from 4.87 to 4.29.

He made two bad pitches Tuesday and each was hit for a triple, by Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce, respectively. Outside of that, Tepesch stuck with the game plan of throwing strikes with his fastball and keeping hitters guessing with off-speed stuff.

“I think it’s one of those things where any time I take the ball I want to go as deep as I can in the game,” Tepesch said. “I don’t really try and get a number [of innings] on it. You do that and you get yourself up looking too far into the future. But it’s just a matter of taking it inning by inning, just challenge myself to see how far I can go.”

Bullpen does wonders: After getting four scoreless innings from the Rangers bullpen in Sunday’s victory over the Houston Astros, manager Ron Washington got more positives from the group Tuesday.

The bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings against Tampa, led by righty Scott Baker, whose two innings earned him the win. Washington even kept closer Neftali Feliz in for two innings, and Roman Mendez retired slugger Evan Longoria on a fly to right to end the eighth.

“Outstanding, did a great job,” Washington said of the group. “They really did. Neal [Cotts] came in and did a good job, and then the biggest one was Mendez getting Longoria -- and then [Shawn Tolleson] gave us two and Neftali gave us two and Baker did what he’s always done and keep us there and give us a chance.”

Late nights at the ballpark: Tuesday marked the second time the Rangers have gone to 14 innings in the past month; the other was a July 22 road loss to the New York Yankees. Texas is now 2-4 in extra-inning games, ending a four-game slide. It was also the Rangers' fifth walk-off victory of the season.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182