The 1974 American League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the East Division Champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division Champion Oakland A's. It was a rematch of the previous year's series and third overall between the two teams. The A's beat the Orioles three games to one and received their third straight pennant in the process. They would go on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1974 World Series and win their third straight World Series championship.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland A's
Oakland won the series, 3–1.
Saturday, October 5, 1974 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California
The Birds jumped all over the ace of the Oakland staff, Catfish Hunter, pounding him for six runs and eight hits, including three homers in less than five innings. Hunter had a skein of seven straight decisions over the Birds going into the game. Southpaw Mike Cuellar pitched steady ball for the winners and got the decision with relief help in the ninth inning from Ross Grimsley.
A portent of things to happen came in the first inning when Paul Blair, second man in the batting order, hit a Hunter pitch for a home run. Bert Campaneris' single that followed a fielder's choice and a stolen base by Bill North gave the A's a temporary tie in the third inning. But a double by Bobby Grich and Tommy Davis' single put the Orioles ahead to stay in the fourth. A four-run outburst in the fifth, featuring homers by Brooks Robinson and Bobby Grich, locked up the game and sent Hunter to the showers.
When Cuellar yielded a single to Jesús Alou and a double to Claudell Washington, both pinch-hitters, to open the last of the ninth, he was pulled in favor of Grimsley, who got the last three outs without trouble.
Sunday, October 6, 1974 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California
The A's assumed command the next day when Ken Holtzman permitted the Orioles only five hits en route to a 5–0 triumph. The Oakland club got an unearned run in the fourth when Bobby Grich dropped a foul pop by Sal Bando for an error. Two pitches later, Bando drove a Dave McNally pitch over the left-field fence for a homer. Joe Rudi tripled home North in the sixth for the second run. In the eighth inning, with two men on—the result of a walk and an error—Ray Fosse hit a home run off reliever Grant Jackson to put the game on ice.
Tuesday, October 8, 1974 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
It was a great pitching battle between Jim Palmer and Vida Blue. Blue hurled a two-hitter and Palmer a four-hitter. But one of the four safe blows yielded by the Oriole right-hander was a home run by Sal Bando in the fourth inning. It was the only run of the game.
Wednesday, October 9, 1974 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
The fourth game belonged to the A's, although their offense was able to produce only one safe hit for the afternoon. Cuellar pitched a no-hitter for four and two-thirds innings but walked four consecutive batters to give Oakland a run. During his stint on the mound, the Oriole lefty walked no less than nine batters and was removed while yet to give up a hit.
The run that was to prove decisive came in the seventh off reliever Ross Grimsley. Sal Bando walked and Reggie Jackson stroked a double off the left-field wall to plate Bando. The Orioles almost pulled the game out of the bag in their last turn at bat. With one out and Rollie Fingers pitching in relief of Hunter, Paul Blair walked and Bobby Grich singled. A force play provided the second out of the inning but Boog Powell's single drove in one run. Fingers, however, was equal to the occasion, striking out Don Baylor on a fast ball to clinch the league crown for Oakland.
1974 ALCS (3–1): Oakland A's over Baltimore Orioles