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Article posted: 4/18/2013 7:38 PM

Castillo making some noise with the bat

By Bruce Miles

The Cubs always have been excited about the defensive ability of young catcher Welington Castillo, so much so they made him their No. 1 man behind the plate this year.

So far, they've also been getting big production at the plate.

In Thursday's 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at Wrigley Field, Castillo enjoyed the first 4-hit game of his career, as he went 4-for-4 with a double. His early-season line is .425/.452/.575 on 17-for-40 hitting with 3 doubles, a homer and 4 RBI.

"If he could swing the bat like this all year long, we've got something really special because the defense he has behind the plate is one of the best in baseball now," said manager Dale Sveum. "The way he's swinging the bat, the way he's hitting right-handers, it's just a huge, huge plus for us right now."

What a relief:

The Cubs had clean bullpen work after starter Carlos Villanueva worked 7 strong innings. James Russell worked a 1-2-3 eighth, and Carlos Marmol finished a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.

For Russell, it was his eighth straight appearance without giving up a run this season. Russell has given up 1 hit in 513 innings pitched as he has emerged as one of the top left-handed setup men in the game.

"Yeah, just his numbers alone dictate that, the reliability, the endurance that he has," Dale Sveum said. "He's got a four-pitch mix to where he can get right-handers out as well. You can leave him in. He demonstrated that last year. He faced a lot of right-handed hitters and did a great job."

This and that:

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 10 games (16-for-45). He also notched the 100th double of his career. Castro has eight hitting streaks of 10 or more games since the start of the 2011 season, tied with the Yankees' Robinson Cano for the most in the majors in that span. His 2 walks wree his first 2 of the season. ... The Cubs notched back-to-back homers for the first time this year, with Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano going deep in the third. ... Nate Schierholtz extended a hitting streak to seven games (10-for-25).

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