Castro improved his average to .342, scored twice and drove in a run, his 12th on the season. Castro also stole his second base.
"I've always thought Starlin was a really, really good player,'' Epstein said. "His defense took a big step forward last year and he's carried it over into this year. He gets a little chance to hide in the lineup now. He doesn't have to be the focal point for the opposition. He's playing really good baseball on both sides. I'm proud of him.''
Manager Joe Maddon, who is Castro's fifth manager over the last six seasons, agrees.
"He's been really good,'' Maddon said. "I mean really good.''
Maddon added that Castro has taken a leadership role with Jorge Soler and the team's other young Latin players, helping them feel welcome at Wrigley Field and elsewhere.
"His interaction with them is really taking on the form of a veteran leadership kind of thing,'' Maddon said. "Right now, I can't say enough good things about the guy. I've been really impressed.''
Castro went 1 for 4 Monday and owns a .324/.351/.419 line with two home runs, 11 RBI and one stolen base in 74 at-bats.
Down 8-6 in the ninth inning, the Cubs rallied with a two-run single to left field by Castro. The go-ahead run scored on a Welington Castillo ground out in the ninth. Chicago was 0-79 when trailing in the ninth inning in 2014.
"Talking with [Chris] Coghlan, [we said] we wouldn't win that game last year or the year before," Castro said, per MLB.com. "We quit [last year]. If we were losing after seven innings, we quit. Now, we never quit. If we get extra innings, we play hard, we never quit."
Castro also launched a solo home run in the sixth inning and finished 3 for 5, improving his batting average to .352 on the year.
Castro went 3 for 5 with a solo home run. He scored once and increased his average to .352. Castro recorded his second homer and tenth RBI of the year.
"I have good talent to be a good shortstop," Castro said, per MLB.com. "I don't want to be no joke anymore. I'm going to try to make every play aggressive. If it happens, it happens.
"[Manager Joe Maddon] says the most impressive thing for him is, 'Next year in front of home plate, they give you a Gold Glove [Award]. It's really important to me, too."
Thus far, the results have been positive for Castro. He has committed just one error in 12 games, resulting in a .983 fielding percentage. He has 21 putouts, 36 assists and has turned three double plays.
Castro's teammates and coaches are taking notice.
"I saw something out of him [Monday] that I hadn't seen in a while," starting pitcher Jake Arrieta said. "He seemed to have more of an aggressive nature about him. He was fluid. He was just tremendous at short. He stood out to me on the defensive side."
"I don't know if you've seen him play better shortstop," Maddon said.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|5/5/2015 vs St. Louis|
|vs St. Louis||12||3||0||.250||.250||.250|
|vs Marquis (Career)||3||0||0||0||0||0|
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