Dominguez showing he can be a force in lineup

Dominguez showing he can be a force in lineup

HOUSTON -- As the temperature outside Minute Maid Park starts to hit 90 degrees or more for the rest of the summer, Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez's bat is heating up inside the ballpark.

Dominguez has launched seven home runs and compiled 12 RBIs in his last 13 games, showing pop at the plate to go along with his consistently terrific defensive play.

"He's got great pull power and great carry to the pull and his bat stays in the zone long enough where he can also drive the ball out of the park the other way," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "Overall, his development has been outstanding. Coming into the season, we knew what we had defensively and we're now we're starting to see the power display itself. I always go back to the fact he's established himself as a complete hitter, and he understands he has to use the whole field."

The 23-year-old hit five homers in 31 games in 2012, but hadn't hit a homer through his first 122 at-bats this season. Then, a two-homer day against Yu Darvish and the Rangers on May 11 sparked his bat. He hit two home runs again on Saturday night against the A's, both solo shots.

Dominguez said he's been taking batting practice "with a purpose" and heeding Porter's advice to work counts.

"If you're patient and working the pitcher, you get those pitches you want," he said. "I try to pull the ball only when I've set the pitcher up to give me a ball inside."

He's done all of this while dealing with a sore left quadriceps, which he hurt in the batting cage several weeks ago and caused him to miss the Royals game on May 22. Dominguez said he's constantly receiving treatment on the injury, but the two days of rest (the Astros were off on May 23) "helped loosen it up."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, . Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.