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Controversial NLDS Game 5 Checked Swing Call Will Linger Among Giants Fans For Generations

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Was it a checked swing? Was it a third strike? How you feel about first base umpire Gabe Morales controversial call to end Game 5 of the hotly-contested NLDS showdown between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night will largely depend on where you live in California.

For Dodger fans, they felt it was a matter of karma. During the regular season, a two-out, ninth-inning, missed third strike call on a Darin Ruf checked swing led to a gut-punching Giants win over Los Angeles.

For the Giants fans, Thursday's call marred what had been a classic pitching battle and ended the first postseason meeting between the two teams in more than 100 years.

The call on Wilmer Flores is sure to be debated for generations among fans of both teams. But the results go into the record books -- the Dodgers won the game 2-1 and the best-of-5 series 3 games to 2.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants - Game Five check swing Wilmer Florees
Wilmer Flores #41 of the San Francisco Giants strikes out on a checked swing for the final out of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

For first-base umpire Gabe Morales' part, he said he thought he made the right call at the time, but refused to say how he felt after watching video replays.

"Check swings are one of the hardest calls we have," he said. "I don't have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I'm watching it live. When it happened live, I thought he went, so that's why I called it a swing."

When asked after the game, if after watching replays of the call, if it was a swing, umpire chief chief Ted Barrett did dance worthy of a Washington politician.

"Yeah, no, we, yeah, yeah, he (Morales) doesn't want to say," he stammered.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler called the ending disappointing, but tried to temper the seething anger among Giants fans.

"Super tough. Yeah, I mean, obviously you don't want a game to end that way," he said. "I know these guys work really hard to make the right call, so it's super challenging on our end. Obviously it's going to be frustrating to have a game end like that, but a pretty high-quality hitter at the plate that can climb back into that count, it's no guarantee of success at the end of the at-bat. It's just a tough way to end it."

"There's no, for especially right now, there's no need to be angry about that. I just think it's just a disappointing way to end. There are other reasons we didn't win today's baseball game, so that was just the last call of the game and, yeah, that's enough."

NLDS Dodgers Giants Baseball
Umpire Ted Barrett, left, and Gabe Morales, middle, pose for photos before Game 5 of a baseball National League Division Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

But that anger will definitely seethe as local and national sports talk shows will replay the swing over and over on Friday and for days to come.

Kapler rightly pointed out at the end of the game, the Giants did have their chances during the game, going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

"I think in hindsight you can come off or comments can come off looking like making excuses about what happened," he said. "I mean, Darin Ruf had two balls that he smoked on the nose early in the game. That happens. It's part of baseball. So you don't expect all those to go your way."

"That ball that (Brandon Crawford) Craw hit to left field on a line, Mookie (Betts) was right there. Donovan Solano hits a ball down the third baseline, Justin Turner's right there. That's just part of baseball and I don't think it makes any sense to throw your hands up and say, I wish this was different in any way."

"I thought we had some quality at-bats throughout the series. At the end of the day they made more pitches than us."

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