HOUSTON -- Closer Sam Dyson blew a save on Monday night but the Rangers' three most important setup relievers were outstanding. That stood out the most in the Rangers' 4-3 victory in 12 innings over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
The Rangers aren't concerned about Dyson, who had been successful in his previous seven save situations before giving up the ninth-inning home run to Evan Gattis that tied the game.
But what made the Rangers' night was the work of right-handed relievers Matt Bush and Keone Kela, and left-hander Jake Diekman. Those three combined to pitch 4 2/3 scoreless innings with Kela getting the win and Diekman the save.
"It's huge for them," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "They have had some minor challenges lately, but they showed up big for us. For our guys to be able to cover up for Dyson, it's a huge team win…tremendous ballgame all-around."
Bush then retired the side in order in the eighth before turning it over to Dyson in the ninth.
Kela was called upon in the 10th, his first appearance since allowing three runs on Saturday against the Angels. This time he threw two scoreless innings.
"He had a rough one in Anaheim," Banister said. "But for him to bounce back and deliver, it's what we need."
Both Bush and Kela were pushed beyond their normal one-inning outings.
"My feeling was that it was a ballgame that we didn't want to necessarily let get away from us," Banister said. "We had an opportunity going forward the next couple days to let them rest up a little bit. It was the opening game of a series that we felt matched up for us if we could put that one away."
Rougned Odor put the Rangers ahead with a home run in the 12th and that's when Banister called upon Diekman to close out the game. Diekman has three saves this year so he has been a go-to guy in the past. But he had allowed five runs in his last four games while trying to work out some mechanical issues.
That wasn't a problem on Monday night. He retired three straight hitters on fly balls to end the game.
"Look, we believe in all our guys and Jake's a guy that we need to get going," Banister said. "It was kind of a grow-up moment for him this year, based on the way he'd been pitching lately. Just a vote of confidence for him. He's been such a huge player for us.
"That's what I expect to see from these guys and that's what we need to see from them moving forward."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.