5/20/2014 9:26 P.M. ET
Hitting becoming a habit for Astros
By Earl Bloom / Special to MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Astros went into Tuesday night's game at Angel Stadium with a streak of nine consecutive games with at least nine hits.
They're batting .299 in that stretch.
"I think it's a little contagious," said third baseman Matt Dominguez, who had two of the Astros' 10 hits in Monday's 5-2 win. "You see guys before you in the lineup battling and having good at-bats, it makes you want to keep it going."
The last time the Astros had a hit parade like this was from June 12-22, 2007, when they had at least nine hits 10 games in a row.
"I think we all had a pretty good plan going up there last night," Dominguez said of Monday's early assault against a hot pitcher, the Angels' Garrett Richards. Houston scored three runs off Richards in the first inning and added single runs in the second and third.
"Richards has great stuff, probably top five among the guys I've faced," Dominguez said. "He throws hard, and everything has a lot of movement. We went out there with our focus on forcing him to get the ball up."
Dominguez, in his second full season, had the third two-homer game of his career on Sunday, against the White Sox. Only four other Astros third basemen have had at least three multihomer games, a list topped by former Angels manager Doug Rader, who had six. Ken Caminiti (five), Morgan Ensberg (four) and Vinny Castilla (three) are the others on that list.
Dominguez leads the Astros in homers, with seven. He hit 21 in 2013, becoming at 23 the youngest Houston player to hit that many since Cesar Cedeno, then 23, hit 26 in 1974. Jimmy Wynn hit 22 in 1965, also at the age of 23.
But Dominguez also takes much pride in his defense. He was third in the American League in assists and total chances last season.
"They always say, 'If you hit they'll find a spot for you,'" he said. "I worked hard on my defense over the years in the Minors when sometimes I didn't hit as much as people thought I should."
Hoes' illness leads to lineup shuffle
ANAHEIM -- Outfielder L.J. Hoes was ill on Tuesday afternoon and had to be sent back to the team hotel to rest, forcing manager Bo Porter to revise his original lineup against Angels' left-hander Tyler Skaggs.
Porter opted to use both of his catchers, with Carlos Corporan starting behind the plate and Jason Castro, the Astros' RBI leader with 22, batting fourth as the designated hitter.
Chris Carter played first base instead of DH, with Jesus Guzman moving from first to left field, replacing Hoes.
"It's just a way to rest [Castro] as a catcher and still keep his bat in the lineup," Porter said. "It's one of the advantages of the American League."
Porter didn't know if Hoes' ailment was from the flu or food poisoning.
Porter discusses running mistake with Fowler
ANAHEIM -- In the second inning on Monday night, center fielder Dexter Fowler was thrown out at second -- the third out -- trying to stretch his hit to right-center into a double.
Fowler drove in Jose Altuve on the 3-2 pitch, but George Springer would have also scored had Fowler stopped at first base or taken a big turn and read the play.
"Dexter and I talked about it," manager Bo Porter said on Tuesday. "It was more of a mental mistake that became a physical mistake. When it's 3-2 with two outs, the runners are not at first and second anymore.
"I think he was just committed to trying to get a double instead of seeing how the play developed."
• Shortstop Jonathan Villar (right thumb) returned to the lineup on Tuesday after a precautionary night off on Monday.
"He had an extra day of treatment, and it obviously helped," Porter said when asked how hard it was to rest Villar on Monday when sinkerballer Dallas Keuchel was pitching. "When it comes to injuries and player safety, I always try to be on the side of caution."
• Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (strained right lat), who's been on the disabled list since March 21, will make a rehab start on Wednesday for Triple-A Oklahoma in a morning game at New Orleans.
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.