1988 A's stun '84 WS champ Tigers in Bracket 2

May 22nd, 2020

A battle between two teams with the most impressive regular seasons ever compiled in the American League West is looming as the 1988 A’s are now set for a showdown with the 2001 Mariners in the next round of MLB Dream Bracket 2 play.

The 1988 A’s secured a spot in the Round of 32 after knocking off the ’84 Tigers over seven games on Friday. The series was highlighted by a strong performance from the Bash Brothers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, who combined for six home runs and 18 RBIs.

The simulated competition, featuring many of the greatest teams in baseball history, is being produced by Out of the Park Baseball 21, MLB‘s most realistic strategy game (PC and Mac).

The first Dream Bracket pitted each franchise’s all-time team against each other. MLB Dream Bracket 2 is a Dream Seasons edition, which features the two greatest single-season clubs in each franchise’s history in a 64-team tournament that runs through June 9.

The 1972 A’s, considered one of the strongest clubs entering the tournament, were involved in one of the biggest upsets of the first round as they were swept by the ’85 Royals on Thursday.

Here is a breakdown of the 1988 A's win against the ’84 World Series champion Tigers.

Game 1: A’s 3, Tigers 2 (12 innings)
The bullpen foursome of Eric Plunk, Dennis Eckersley, Greg Cadaret and Jim Corsi combined for five scoreless innings of relief before Canseco walked it off at Oakland Coliseum with a solo blast in the 12th off Willie Hernandez.

Game 2: A’s 12, Tigers 0
McGwire’s two-run blast in the first set the tone for an offensive outburst that also saw homers from Terry Steinbach and Dave Henderson, and a grand slam in the eighth from Canseco. It was more than enough support for Bob Welch, who turned in the A’s top pitching performance of the series with eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings.

Game 3: Tigers 6, A’s 1
Detroit rebounded from the blowout as the series shifted back to Tiger Stadium and jumped out to an early three-run lead through the first three innings against Storm Davis. Milt Wilcox held the A’s to one run on five hits over 5 2/3 frames, and Aurelio Lopez and Doug Bair kept Oakland off the board over the final 3 1/3 innings.

Game 4: Tigers 1, A’s 0
Curt Young turned in a strong performance on the mound with one run allowed over 7 1/3 innings. But he was outdueled by Juan Berenguer, who tossed eight scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. The A’s did not record their first hit until the fifth, and scattered just five hits total. Alan Trammell’s solo shot off Young in the fourth was the decider.

Game 5: A’s 11, Tigers 2
An offense as powerful as Oakland’s can only be held down for so long. McGwire outscored Detroit on his own with two homers and five RBIs, including a three-run blast in the first off Jack Morris. Dave Stewart silenced the Tigers with six scoreless innings before turning it over to the bullpen, and the A’s flew back to Oakland back on top in the series.

Game 6: Tigers 5, A’s 1
Henderson’s solo blast in the first was all the offense the A’s could muster in their return to the Coliseum as Dan Petry held Oakland to one run over 8 1/3 frames. Welch did his best to keep the A’s in the game, allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings, but he was bitten by the long ball as Trammell and Chet Lemon took him deep for solo shots to force a seventh game.

Game 7: A’s 11, Tigers 6
Mike Gallego was known for his excellent glove, but he shined with his bat in the series decider with four RBIs. Trailing by three runs entering the bottom of the seventh, the A’s offense erupted for an eight-run inning highlighted by Gallego’s three-run double.

Though it was not a save situation, the A’s were not about to take any chances and turned to Eck, who closed the show with a scoreless ninth that sealed the victory. In a bit of poetic justice for A’s fans, the game ended with Eckersley getting Kirk Gibson to fly out.