s usual, the sixth inning of a start was a disaster for Nick Tepesch.

What was different: This time he didn’t let it sink him.

And as a result, the Rangers ended up with a spirit-lifting 14-inning walkoff 3-2 win on Adam Rosales’ four-pitch walk. It ended a streak of four consecutive extra-inning losses for the Rangers.

As the Rangers look for pitchers to fill out a 2015 rotation that currently has more holes than starters, that little fact was significant. Given the state of the Rangers’ season, it was probably more significant even than the outcome of Tuesday’s game with Tampa Bay.

“Nick’s growing, he really is,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Despite allowing Tampa Bay a pair of runs in the sixth of what had been a scoreless game, Tepesch finished the inning and gave the Rangers one more. When the Rangers finally have an offense again, it’s those kinds of starts that will allow them the momentum-building, late-inning comebacks. Those have been quite rare this season. The Rangers began Tuesday 4-55 when trailing after six innings; they’d lost their last 48 such games.

“Nick’s growing, he really is,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “What he did tonight was very significant. He is doing his homework and executing pitches. He was on the attack all night. And when he got in trouble, he minimized the damage. He did a great job, he really did.”

Throughout his brief career Tepesch has had problems facing the order a third time through, which usually coincides with the start of the sixth inning. The theory being: With a limited repertoire, Tepesch doesn’t have the tools to face major league hitters a third time in the game. It has regularly proved to be his and, ultimately, the Rangers’ undoing. It’s forced the bullpen into games an inning earlier than a manager would typically use his “winning pieces.”