The Atlanta Braves are back on top of the National League East, as they clinched their second straight division title on Friday with a 6-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.
It's the first time the Braves have won consecutive division crowns since their iconic run of 11 straight NL East titles came to an end in 2005.
Fittingly, Atlanta was led on Friday by young star Ronald Acuna Jr., who doubled, homered, and scored three of the Braves' six runs. Mike Foltynewicz chipped in with eight shutout innings on the mound.
Atlanta's 19th division title is tied with the New York Yankees for the most since divisional play began in 1969. This postseason will mark the franchise's 25th playoff appearance.
This Braves' run started last year when, in what many expected to be another rebuilding season, they righted the ship to win 90 games and a surprising division title before being dispatched by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
Although they added former MVP Josh Donaldson to a young core that included rising stars Acuna and Ozzie Albies, plus longtime Brave Freddie Freeman, few picked Atlanta to repeat in a stacked division. Instead, the team has improved on last year, winning 95 games while making a serious bid for the NL's best record.
"We weren't supposed to do this. Most people picked us (to finish) fourth," manager Brian Snitker said postgame, according to Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "... (But) that's why you play the games.
"I feel like we knocked on the door last year," Snitker added, per David O'Brien of The Athletic. "Hopefully we kick it in this year."
The Braves have five more losses than the Dodgers, who currently hold the NL's best record.