George Kottaras first to hit for the cycle this season

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Brewers backup catcher George Kottaras wrote his name into baseball’s history books during Saturday’s 8-2 victory over the Astros, becoming the first major leaguer of the 2011 season to hit for the cycle.

Kottaras flew out to left field in his first at-bat, then rattled off four consecutive hits. He deposited a solo home run into the right field seats in the fourth inning, hit a triple to deep center field in the sixth, laced a single to right field in the seventh and finished the night with a ninth-inning ground rule double.

It was the first big league cycle since Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez accomplished the feat back in August of 2010, and only the eighth cycle in the history of the Brewers franchise.

Kottaras raised his batting average from .241 to .273 and his OPS from .707 to .823 with the one-night effort. His Brewers have increased their lead in the National League Central standings to 8 1/2 games.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.