SAN FRANCISCO -- When Starlin Castro hit a ball to right field in the eighth inning Tuesday night, he was thinking triple. That's all that was missing after the Cubs shortstop had singled in the third, doubled in the fourth and homered in the sixth.
"Starlin had his best day of the year," manager Joe Maddon said after the Cubs' 8-5 win over the Giants.
All Castro wants is to convince the Cubs to put him in the lineup every day.
Rookie Addison Russell took over as the Cubs' starting shortstop Aug. 7, and Castro has had to endure the benching and being moved to second base at times. He started at shortstop Tuesday because Russell was not with the team in time for the game; the rookie was in Chicago to be with his fiancee for the birth of their son.
"I think Starlin, what he did today, that's a potentially nice sign for us," said Maddon, who didn't commit to putting Castro back in the lineup. "He really did look different and better today. Him and [hitting coach John Mallee] made a little bit of an adjustment and it looked like it played."
Mallee convinced Castro to move closer to the plate and hopefully avoid pulling the ball all the time. Castro's home run landed in the left-field bleachers but the ball in the eighth went to right. The Giants' Marlon Byrd was there to make the catch.
"I thought I was going to make the triple," Castro said. "It didn't happen. I thought it had a chance."
If he had, it would've been the Cubs' first cycle since Mark Grace did so on May 9, 1993, against the Padres.
"For me, right now, it doesn't matter where I am in the lineup, I just want to be in the lineup every day," Castro said. "I'm just trying to get my confidence back, my everyday player [status] back. That's what I'm trying to do again."
How tough has it been to be on the bench?
"Sometimes those kind of moments make you strong," Castro said. "This is my sixth year, [and I was] playing every day, but now it's been really tough for me. I think it's made me a little stronger. ... I want to be a part of this team and keep hitting and play better."