HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was moving gingerly on the basepaths during Saturday's loss against the Rangers.
Manager Bo Porter said after the game that Altuve wasn't 100 percent and was essentially gutting it out with the Astros thin up the middle because of shortstop Jonathan Villar's left thumb issue.
"He doesn't have that burst of speed we're used to seeing," Porter said. "You look at the [double] last night, that probably would have been a triple if he's completely healthy. I think he scores from second base easy on that single, too.
"At the same time, he's not coming out of the lineup. As the manager and the training staff, we do have to monitor it and protect him from himself."
Altuve said before Sunday's game that the left quad feels "good but sore," and he's doing everything he can to be 100 percent.
"It's just everyday stuff with the trainers and stretching," he said. "I have to go for the team. It's just a little tight. Not enough to keep me down."
The quad hasn't prevented a strong start to the Texas series for Altuve, who is 4-for-9 with three RBIs, two doubles and two runs scored in the first two games against the Rangers.
Astros slot Dominguez into fifth spot in order
HOUSTON -- With the Astros fielding a young team and facing roster turnover all year, manager Bo Porter has repeatedly said his lineup will be fluid.
Third baseman Matt Dominguez was the beneficiary of that fluidity on Sunday, as he hit fifth in the order, his highest position in the starting lineup all season.
"My approach isn't going to change, just square up the ball and work the counts," Dominguez said. "There might just be some more runs up for grabs."
With catcher and cleanup mainstay Jason Castro out of the lineup on Sunday, Porter said he was looking to get another RBI threat near the top of the order.
"We're facing a lefty and Jason Castro isn't playing," Porter said. "When you look at the dynamic of who's in the lineup, [Matt] is one of the better run producers and that's why he's hitting fifth out there."
Dominguez has made a pinch-hit appearance at both the No. 2 and No. 5 holes this season, recording a hit on July 9 against St. Louis in his only time hitting fifth this season.
Still, he's no stranger to the top of the order, batting fifth or higher in the lineup 11 times over the final month of the 2012 season. During those games, he hit .233 (10-for-43) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
As for whether a repeat of last season's late top-of-the-order surge is in the cards, Dominguez wasn't sure.
"It all depends on how I'm swinging the bat, what the matchup is that day," he said. "I'll try to make it easy to write me in up there, but I'm not worrying about it."
Rangers fans making noise in Houston
HOUSTON -- One fan's tweet that appeared on the Minute Maid Park screen during Saturday night's game referred to it as "Arlington Stadium South."
That's what the Astros are up against this weekend, as a horde of Rangers fans have trekked down I-45 to see the Silver Boot series in Houston. Though the influx of red and blue has provided an attendance boon, it's flooded the park with cheers against the home team.
"I think it's obvious. I'm not deaf," manager Bo Porter said. "I don't like it, but I mean, you hear it. Does it affect me? No."
Saturday's paid crowd of 33,322 was the third largest Astros home crowd of 2013. The Opening Night win over Texas in the club's first game as an American League team was the highest attended Houston game this year, with a sellout crowd of 41,307 on hand.
While it may not please Astros players or coaches, the Rangers' following does contribute to a more lively ballpark atmosphere.
Porter, also a longtime Houston resident, played for the Rangers in 2001 and remembers when there was no room for Rangers fans in Minute Maid because of the Astros' success last decade.
"It definitely can change," he said. "Just win a little."
In fact, Porter said he had a loftier goal than simply diluting the presence of the road teams' fans at Houston games.
"I want to get to the point where not only our fans cheer for us, but when we go on the road, there's fans on the road cheering for us as well," Porter said.
• Villar was again out of the lineup Sunday with his sprained left thumb, but Porter said it was as much about facing a lefty -- the switch-hitter's thumb bothers him more batting right-handed -- as the injury itself. "If they had a righty going today, he would play," Porter said.
• Sunday marked Dallas Keuchel's first start back in the rotation since July 27, and his 15th start of the season. Three of those 15 starts have come against the Rangers.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.