SAN DIEGO -- The 1984 Padres pulled off a stunning yet emphatic upset in the first round of MLB's Dream Bracket, dispatching the vaunted '55 Dodgers in a four-game sweep.
Graig Nettles delivered decisive late home runs in Games 2 and 3, and his 10th-inning double put the Padres ahead for good in Game 4. Tony Gwynn, meanwhile, batted .412 in the series with two hits in each of the first three games.
With the victory, the Padres advance to face the '97 Marlins, who defeated the '69 Mets in six games. San Diego's other team in the bracket -- the '98 club -- is set to square off with the 2012 Giants on Friday. (Call it the Bruce Bochy Bowl.)
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).
San Diego's round 1 sweep surely busted plenty of brackets, given that the '55 Dodgers were loaded with all-time greats like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider. But Gwynn and Nettles carried the load on offense, and the Padres' excellent bullpen helped stifle those big bats.
Here's a recap of all four games in San Diego's sweep of Brooklyn:
Game 1: Padres 8, Dodgers 0
San Diego jumped all over Don Newcombe in the first inning, scoring five times, including back-to-back-to-back dingers from Terry Kennedy, Kevin McReynolds and Carmelo Martinez. Padres starter Ed Whitson took over from there, twirling 6 1/3 scoreless frames. Martinez finished 2-for-3 and scored three times, and Kennedy added three hits.
Game 2: Padres 9, Dodgers 7
The Padres needed some late heroics in Game 2. Trailing by three entering the bottom of the eighth, San Diego stormed back before taking the lead on Nettles' go-ahead three-run bomb. Pinch-hitter Tim Flannery sparked the rally with a leadoff single. Alan Wiggins, Gwynn and Steve Garvey followed with singles of their own. That set the stage for Nettles, whose three-run blast came off Dodgers righty Clem Labine.
Game 3: Padres 5, Dodgers 4
The Padres jumped out to an early lead, then held on to take a 3-0 lead in the series. Nettles provided some late-inning drama once again, going deep against young Dodgers reliever Sandy Koufax. (Koufax, arguably the greatest pitcher of all time, was a 19-year-old rookie in 1955, and he pitched primarily in relief.) Nettles' blast gave the Padres a two-run lead in the top of the eighth. Gwynn, meanwhile, recorded yet another two-hit game.
Game 4: Padres 8, Dodgers 2, 10 innings
The series-clinching blow came in the form of a six-run 10th inning. Mark Thurmond and Billy Loes locked horns in a pitchers' duel early, and the game went to extras tied at 2. But Nettles broke the deadlock with a two-run double, and Martinez and Garry Templeton also added RBI doubles in the frame. Reliever Andy Hawkins retired three straight Hall of Famers -- Reese, Snider and Campanella -- to complete the sweep.