Alex Castellanos has a very simple secret to his success this season.
The Dodgers' No. 13 prospect racked up three extra-base hits and drove in three runs Tuesday, helping the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes defeat the Iowa Cubs, 13-6.
"I was just seeing the lefties pretty good and trying to be as patient as I can and get a pitch to hit," Castellanos said.
Castellanos got off to a quick start, tripling with one out in the bottom of the first inning and scoring on Jerry Sands' single to spark the Isotopes' six-run outburst. After getting hit by a pitch in the third, he stole second and third, then scored on Josh Fields' sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Castellanos doubled and raced home on a passed ball. He slugged a three-run homer in the eighth, capping his seventh multi-hit game of the year.
Acquired from the Cardinals last summer for shortstop Rafael Furcal, the 25-year-old infielder is off to a torrid start in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching. He's batting .364 and leads all Minor Leaguers with 13 extra-base hits. Castellanos also tops the Pacific Coast League with four triples and 14 runs scored in 13 games.
"The ball has been dropping for hits," the 2008 10th-round Draft pick said with a laugh. "I'm working each and every day to get better at-bats and be more patient at the plate."
After spending last season in the outfield, Castellanos was moved to second base by the Dodgers. The transition has gone well so far, with the Belmont Abbey College product committing two errors in 64 chances.
"In the beginning, it was tough, but now I'm getting used to it," he said. "I feel way more comfortable now than I did in the beginning. The throwing angle, knowing that you have a bunch of time, knowing that you have to think like a middle infielder and turning double plays have been the toughest parts."
Luis Cruz was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored and finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Isotopes, who totaled a season-high 20 hits.
Cubs top prospect Anthony Rizzo had two hits and scored twice, while Brett Jackson -- ranked just behind Rizzo -- tripled and scored a run for Iowa.