CHICAGO -- The last Cubs player to hit for the cycle was Mark Grace in May 1993. Starlin Castro came close on Sunday.
The Cubs shortstop tripled in the first, doubled in the third and singled in the sixth against the Red Sox, but he flew out in the eighth. Was he thinking home run?
"Sure -- why not?" Castro said.
He did connect one day later on Monday against the White Sox, one of his three hits that night. Castro also is thinking about the All-Star Game. The Cubs shortstop, who was the team's lone representative last year, was third in the latest balloting, released Tuesday.
"That shortstop looks like he's going to be a superstar to me," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after watching Castro in an Interleague series at Wrigley Field. "I'm just looking, but he looks to me like he's got a chance to be a superstar. That kid Castro is smooth, doesn't panic, got some power."
Castro trails the Cardinals' Rafael Furcal, who passed the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki for the lead with 1,741,360 votes. Tulowitzki has received 1,647,235 votes, while Castro has 1,006,333 votes so far.
Castro posted back-to-back three-hit games Sunday and Monday for the second time in his career, and was 7-for-13 in his last three games.
Why the surge?
"[It's probably because] his average dropped under .300," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said, chuckling. "I've noticed a lot of good hitters, when that average gets below .300, I think they start turning it up a notch, too."
Castro entered Tuesday's game against the Cubs' intra-city rivals hitting .303.
Bryan LaHair was fifth last week among NL first basemen, but has dropped out of the top five.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 9.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.