ARLINGTON, Texas -- Corey Seager got Texas started with his 32nd homer and rookie Evan Carter added a three-run blast as the Rangers took over the AL West lead for the first time in September with an 8-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a crucial series Friday night.
The Rangers (85-68) and Mariners began the day tied for the American League's third and final wild-card spot, and a half-game behind reigning World Series champion Houston for the division lead.
But the Astros (85-69) lost at home to 102-loss Kansas City to fall a half-game behind Texas. That pushed Houston into the third wild-card spot and a still a half-game ahead of the Mariners (84-69), who dropped below the playoff line.
Seager, the AL's leading hitter with a .333 average, snapped a 2-for-22 slide with a first-pitch homer in the first inning off rookie Bryce Miller (8-6). Carter also went deep on the first pitch he saw in the second inning of his 14th big-league game to put Texas up 4-0.
Texas and Seattle played the first of seven games between them over the final 10 days of the regular season. The Mariners' other remaining three games at home are against the Astros.
After leading the AL West for 148 of the season's first 149 games, Texas is in back in front for the first time since Aug. 29.
Rangers starter Dane Dunning (11-6) had allowed only one hit until the first three Seattle batters reached to open the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter J.P. Crawford had an infield single, Julio Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and Cal Raleigh followed with his 30th homer to get the Mariners within 8-3.
Dunning gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings, with two strikeouts and two walks. The Rangers scored six runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings against Miller.
Seattle got a run in the ninth off hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman, who allowed three hits and a walk. He also struck out two before All-Star rookie third baseman Josh Jung's nice play for the game-ending grounder.
The Rangers, who won their third game in a row since a 10-20 stretch that had knocked them out of the division lead, extended their lead to 8-0 in fifth when facing Miller and two relievers.
Miller was lifted with two runners on and an out before Tayler Saucedo gave up an RBI fielder's choice grounder to the first batter he faced, and later walked batters in a row -- the second was Jonah Heim with the bases loaded. Mitch Garver then had a two-run single after Trent Thornton took over on the mound.
Texas then used three pitchers in the top of the sixth. But Andrew Heaney, the second reliever, needed only one pitch to get an inning-ending groundout after Chris Stratton had given up a bases-loaded walk to No. 9 batter Josh Rojas.
Toronto (86-68) remained the AL's second wild card after a 6-2 win earlier Friday at wild-card leader Tampa Bay (94-61).
TRAINER'S ROOM: Mariners: Rodriguez was hit by a 91.3 mph slider. The young star was clearly in discomfort after getting struck around his left elbow, but stayed in the game after getting checked on by manager Scott Servais and a trainer.
Rangers: Reliever Josh Sborz, out since Sept. 5 because of a left hamstring strain, threw live BP before the game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Sborz looked sharp but didn't have an update on the next step for the reliever.
UP NEXT: Seattle RHP Logan Gilbert (13-6, 3.77 ERA), who has a 2.83 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers, faces them in the middle game of the series Saturday night. Trade deadline acquisition lefty Jordan Montgomery (9-11, 3.38) pitches for Texas.
ROYALS 7, ASTROS 5
HOUSTON -- Cole Ragans gave up three hits and two runs over six strong innings and the Kansas City Royals used two big innings to defeat Houston, knocking the Astros out of first place in the AL West.
Houston, which has lost seven of its last 10 games, dropped a half-game back of the Texas Rangers in the division. Houston, 39-40 at home this season, holds a half-game lead for the final AL wild-card spot over the Mariners with eight games remaining. The Rangers beat the Mariners 8-5.
The Royals jumped on Framber Valdez for four runs in the first. Bobby Witt Jr. hit an RBI triple, and M.J. Melendez, Edward Olivares and Nick Loftin also drove in runs.
The Royals tacked on three more in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Nick Pratto and a two-run single by Kyle Isbel for a 7-2 lead.
Ragans (7-4) struck out five and walked four. He allowed five runs in six innings against the Astros on Sunday.
James McArthur pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for his second save as Kansas City won for the eighth time in its last nine games.
Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI double in the first, and José Abreu hit a solo home run in the second.
Chas McCormick knocked a three-run home run in the eighth to cut the lead to 7-5, but after Jose Altuve singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, Jeremy Peña flew out to end the threat.
Houston finished 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Valdez (12-11) surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on four hits with 10 strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He also walked three and hit two batters.
TRAINER'S ROOM: Royals: C Salvador Perez (concussion) cleared his concussion protocol and worked out on Friday, manager Matt Quatraro said. Perez can be activated off the 7-day concussion injured list on Sunday. ... LHP Daniel Lynch IV (left shoulder strain) threw two scoreless innings in his first rehab start Thursday with Triple A Omaha. Lynch did well and will go to Arizona to "do a progression," Quatraro said. ... LHP Austin Cox (left knee sprain) had successful surgery Thursday, Quatraro said.
Astros: RHP Ryne Stanek (right ankle sprain) was reinstated from the 15-day injured list. RHP Joel Kuhnel was optioned to Triple A Sugar Land to make room on the active roster. ... OF Michael Brantley was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game Friday with right shoulder soreness.
FIRST ROUND PICKS THROW OUT FIRST PITCHES: Houston Rockets first round draft picks Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore threw out the ceremonial first pitches Friday.
UP NEXT: Astros RHP J.P. France (11-5, 3.84 ERA) starts Saturday in the second game of the three-game series opposite Royals RHP Jordan Lyles (4-17, 6.43 ERA).