Altuve hit .333 (9-for-27) on the Astros' road trip to Miami and Washington and had reached base safely in 10 of the first 12 games in which he had played.
"I think the way he's swinging the bat real well and with Jed's switch-hitting ability in the middle of the order, I think will help us out as well," manager Brad Mills said. "We might as well take advantage of Altuve swinging the bat well and move the other guy down and get some help there as well."
Mills said he toyed with the idea of hitting Altuve leadoff, but went with Justin Maxwell, who got the start in center field. Regular starting center fielder Jordan Schafer is still nursing a cold, but should return to the lineup in time to face Clayton Kershaw on Saturday.