San Francisco Giants fans are going to be upset about this one for a long, long time.
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series on Thursday night at Oracle Park, capping a thrilling series between two of the best teams in the league.
That game, however, ended after Giants first baseman Wilmer Flores struck out on a checked swing. With two down and Kris Bryant standing on first for the Giants, Flores appeared to hold up on his swing after a Max Scherzer pitch that the umpire behind the plate didn’t call.
First-base umpire Gabe Morales said Flores went — which ended the game right then and there.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler said after the game that "it looked like he didn't go."
"It's super tough," Kapler said. "Obviously you don't want a game to end that way ... Obviously it's going to be frustrating to have a game end like that, but pretty high quality hitter at the plate that can climb back into that count. There's no guarantee of success in that at-bat. It's just a tough way to end it."
He isn't, however, willing to blame the loss on that at all.
"There are other reasons we didn't win today's baseball game," Kapler said. "That was just the last call of the game."
"It's just a disappointing way to end."
Giants manager Gabe Kapler on the questionable check swing call that ended Game 5. pic.twitter.com/ecokUXK8Xp
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 15, 2021
The umpiring crew was also asked about the call postgame, with Morales seeming to acknowledge that he had a different opinion of the swing once he saw it on video replay.
Umpire Ted Barrett on if the crew had different feelings about the Wilmer Flores check swing call after reviewing the replay:
“Yeah, no, we, yeah, yeah, he (1B ump Gabe Morales) doesn’t want to say.”
Other quotes ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/I2sa71cfcG
— Danny Emerman (@DannyEmerman) October 15, 2021
Giants outfielder Darin Ruf didn't think Flores went, either, but he remembered a similar, though much more egregious, checked swing call in a previous matchup between the two teams earlier this season — one that went the Giants' way.
"It didn't look like he went, but a check swing earlier in the year helped us out, too," Ruf said, via MLB.com's Maria Guardado. "It's kind of funny how it comes down to those two events."
While it’s hard to blame the loss on that call entirely — the Giants went down 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning after a Cody Bellinger RBI single — it’s easy to see why they’re upset.
Fans on social media couldn’t help but question the call, and get upset about the unceremonious ending.
Of all ways to end it. 😩😩😩
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) October 15, 2021
You can't end it like that, ump. Weak.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 15, 2021
And it wasn’t even the right call. Goodness gracious.
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) October 15, 2021
That.... is a brutal way to end this. My God.
— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) October 15, 2021
Oh my god he didn’t swing
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) October 15, 2021
— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) October 15, 2021
That was a check swing. It honestly wasn't even close.
— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) October 15, 2021
What an awful way to end an incredible series and a great game.
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) October 15, 2021
That series was a masterpiece, right up until the final pitch. And then… pic.twitter.com/5CttzIpYHY
— Nick Selbe (@NickSelbe) October 15, 2021
Somebody had to decide Giants-Dodgers. Turns out it was Gabe Morales.
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) October 15, 2021
While there was plenty of outrage, it doesn't matter.
The Dodgers are now set to take on the NL East champion Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night at Truist Park. Despite having the better record, Los Angeles won't have home-field advantage in the series because they entered the playoffs as a wild-card team.