Canadian 1st player in 2011 to hit for cycle
Backup catcher Kottaras 1st Brewer to achieve feat since Gerut in May 2010
The bounce went just right for Canadian George Kottaras.
The 28-year-old from Scarborough, Ont., became the first major leaguer to hit for the cycle this season, aided by a good bounce on Minute Maid Park's centre field hill, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Houston Astros 8-2 Saturday night.
Kottaras needed a double in his last at bat to complete the cycle and he hit a drive to deep centre field. Kottaras likely could have stretched the hit to a triple, but the ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.
"I was almost at second when the ball bounced out so that made it happen," Kottaras said. "I'll take it for sure."
Kottaras hit a solo homer in the fourth inning off Bud Norris (6-9) to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead and tripled in the sixth ahead of a two-run shot by Craig Counsell, his first of the year.
"I wasn't trying for the cycle, just trying to play the right way and the way it's meant to be played," Kottaras said. "It made me feel good inside. It was a great feeling."
Kottaras added an RBI single in the seventh and his doubled off David Carpenter in the ninth gave him the first cycle by a Brewers hitter since Jody Gerut on May 8, 2010.
Colorado slugger Carlos Gonzalez was the last major leaguer to hit for the cycle, on July 31 last season against the Chicago Cubs.
According to STATS LLC, two of the last three big league catchers to hit for the cycle did it for Milwaukee: Kottaras and Chad Moeller (2004). Bengie Molina also accomplished the feat for Texas on July 16 last year.
Kottaras finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs and scored twice. Prince Fielder drove in two runs with a grounder and a single as Milwaukee retained its 8 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central.
"I kind of knew [cycle possibility] but I wasn't just trying to hit a double, I was just going out to try to have a good at bat," Kottaras said. "It's a crazy game you never know what you're going to get."
Chris Narveson (10-6) allowed two runs and four hits over five innings in his first start for the Brewers since Aug. 22. He walked four and struck out four, working out of jams in the second and third.
Fielder grounded out and Nyjer Morgan scored for the early lead.
Kottaras made it 2-0 in the fourth with his fourth homer on a 92 mph fastball from Norris.
Fielder hit an RBI single with two outs in the fifth and Mark Kotsay had a run-scoring double to make it 4-0.
In the sixth, Kottaras tripled to left and Counsell's homer made it 6-2.