Wilmer Flores seems to be checking his swing. But the first base umpire calls he out and the Dodgers win the series over the Giants. (0:57).
SAN FRANCISCO -- Wilmer Flowers swung, or he didn’t -- and that was it. Last call for San Francisco Giants.
The Giants' spectacular ride to the end came to an abrupt halt on Thursday night. After being called out for a disputed check-swing Flores slowly returned to the dugout. The Giants lost 2-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth game of the National League Division Series.
"It seemed like he didn’t go. Gabe Kapler, Giants manager, stated that it was his interpretation.
He said, "It's just disappointing to the end."
Kapler said, "It's heightened upon the last play of the board... in this instance a check-swing."
He said, "That's going be the topic that is talked about quite often and I understand why." It makes no sense for us to take that apart. It's not clear how useful it will be.
Kapler's team, which had set a franchise record of 107 wins during the regular season, and was a step ahead the Dodgers throughout the year, couldn’t defeat the World Series champions in a winner take all game.
Flores was instead rung up by Max Scherzer, a Dodgers ace who had been playing a rare closer role.
Flores was on TV replays as a runner with one out and two outs. He held up a low-and away slider that had missed the strike zone. Doug Eddings, the plate umpire, checked with Gabe Morales (first-base ump), and ruled Flores to have swung. Major League Baseball replay rules do not allow for review of check-swings.
"It is the emotion of frustration that I am referring to, right?" Kapler said.
"Super tough. Yes, it's tough. These guys are very hard workers, so it can be extremely challenging for us. It's going be very frustrating to see a game like this end. It's possible to have a very high-quality hitter at plate, but it doesn't guarantee success at the end. It's just not an easy way to end it.
Morales stated to a pool reporter, "check-swings" are the most difficult call we make. When I watch it live, I don't have multiple camera angles. It happened live and I thought he was going, so I called it a swing.
Morales stated that he had seen the replay of the last pitch. Crew chief Ted Barrett responded to a question about Morales' belief that it was still a swing.
Barrett stated, "Yeah. No, we, yeah. Yeah, he doesn’t want to tell us."
Many of the 42,275 people had a clearer view.
After Morales' call, fans who had been standing all evening waving orange towels in anger erupted in angrily. Some fans threw beer cans onto the field after the Dodgers came out of their dugout. Several pieces of trash were also thrown onto the outfield grass.
It was a sudden end to an unusual year, especially for a team that hadn’t finished above.500 since 2016.
With the World Series champion Dodgers and San Diego Padres heavily favored, the upstart Giants not only saw their championship-experienced veterans shine but repeatedly rode their bevy of fresh new faces -- including young ace Logan Webb -- to the best record in baseball.
The resurgent seasons of catcher Buster Posey, and All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford helped them to do it. Kris Bryant was acquired by the trade deadline and provided the pop for a lineup which led the NL in home runs with 241.
In the decisive game against the Dodgers, that power was mostly absent. The Giants' only run was Darin Ruf's solo shot at Julio Urias.
Ruf's own check-swing against Los Angeles was his experience in late July. He was ruled safe by the umpires, although it seemed he wasn't close to winning -- on a full count pitch with bases loaded and two outs at Dodger Stadium. This resulted in a tie walk that the Giants won.
The call was made against his club this time.
Ruf stated, "I mean, I didn't know at the time, but obviously we were able to see replay and it didn’t look like he went." "But we were also helped by a check-swing that was done earlier in the year. It's funny how it all comes down to these two events. But, yeah. Just, yeah."
This was the 24th matchup between the rivals this season, and they split them -- 12 wins each.
The Dodgers won their final meeting. Manager Dave Roberts tried his best to make the final call.
"I'm trying as hard as I can to sell it. He said that it was baseball and, ultimately, we won a game.