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Umpire Addresses Controversial Giants-Dodgers Final Strike Call: 'I Thought He Went'

First base umpire Gabe Morales addressed his controversial strike call in the ninth inning of Thursday's Giants-Dodgers NLDS game, saying that check swings are "one of the hardest calls we have."

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Giants trailing 2–1, Morales called a decisive third strike on an apparent check swing by Giants infielder Wilmer Flores, resulting in a strikeout that ended San Francisco's 107-win season. The Giants had a runner on first base.

After Max Scherzer's pitch—a slider out of the strike zone—home plate umpire Doug Eddings signaled to Morales for help on the call. Morales determined that Flores went far enough around for a strike, but video showed that he checked his swing. 

"I don’t have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I’m watching it live," Morales told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When it happened live, I thought he went, so that’s why I called it a swing."

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“The plate umpire appealed the check swing to me," he added. "I thought he went, so I called it a swing."

A check swing does not fall under MLB's judgment calls that would be eligible for a review. Morales and crew chief Ted Barrett said they watched a replay after the game.

"We talk about it a lot at our meetings because it is one of our most difficult calls, and we try to get all on the same page as a staff that we’re all trying to call the same thing," Barrett said. "But by the rule book it just says, did he offer at the pitch? So there’s some ambiguity there, but we do our best to try to be consistent, so players know what’s a swing and what’s not."

The Dodgers will face the Braves in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday in Atlanta.