Carlos Beltran waited 16 years to make it to the World Series.
He lasted a little more than an inning.
Beltran was injured in Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night when he crashed into the bullpen wall to deprive David Ortiz of a second-inning grand slam. The play turned a homer into a sacrifice fly — saving three runs but costing the Cardinals Beltran's services for the rest of the game, and maybe longer.
"Obviously, he's sore," designated hitter Allen Craig said. "But hopefully he can get back tomorrow."
Beltran finished out the half-inning, rubbing his sore side, but he came out after that and was taken to a hospital for X-rays and a CT scan. The tests were all negative and Beltran will be evaluated daily, manager Mike Matheny said.
A Cardinals spokesman said after the game that Beltran returned to the ballpark but would not be available for comment.
"He's a huge player for us," said starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. "Everybody knows that. We all know that."
Beltran batted .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in the regular season and has 12 RBIs in the playoffs this year. An eight-time All-Star, he hit .337 with 16 homers and 37 RBIs in 45 career postseason games that tied a record for a player before his first World Series appearance.
Beltran struck out in his only at-bat Wednesday.
The Cardinals could replace him on the roster, but he would be lost for the rest of the Series. Outfielder Adron Chambers is the likely substitute, having been left off the World Series roster when the Cardinals went with rookie infielder Kolten Wong.
Game 2 is Thursday night in Boston.
Beltran's catch was the rare defensive highlight on a night when the Cardinals bungled their way into an early deficit and went on to lose the Series opener 8-1. One of the best-fielding teams in the league over the regular-season, St. Louis committed three errors in all, with several other misplays that spotted Boston to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
"That is not the kind of team that we've been all season," Matheny said. "They're frustrated, (and) I'm sure embarrassed to a point. We get an opportunity to show the kind of baseball we played all season long and it didn't look anything like what we saw tonight."
Shortstop Pete Kozma botched a potential inning-ending double play relay to load the bases in the first. Center fielder Shane Robinson bobbled Mike Napoli's double, allowing the bases to clear. Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, both Gold Glove winners, allowed an easy popup to fall between them at the start of Boston's two-run second.
Wainwright, who waved his arms but then made no attempt to catch the ball, said the responsibility for the misplay was "with the starting pitcher."
"I called it. I waited for someone else to take charge. That's not the way to play baseball," he said. "It was totally my error."
Kozma made another error on a bouncer to his right in the second inning. Asked in the clubhouse afterward what happened, the Cardinals shortstop said, "Which one?"
The three errors and four unearned runs both matched season highs for St. Louis.
"That's the game in the playoffs: You give them extra outs, they're going to score," said Kozma, who made only nine errors all season and had never made two in a game before. "That's how the games work: one thing happens and then you're down 3-0."
St. Louis added another error, by third baseman David Freese, and a wild pitch by Carlos Martinez that put a runner on third base with nobody out in the eighth inning and led to Boston's eighth run.
"It's a different game if some plays are made that are typically made. That's a whole different story," Matheny said. "(Boston) is a good club. We know that. But I'm just not going to let our guys forget we're a good club, too. We make plays, we also put together tough at-bats. ... Right now this is one game that got away from us, and it was in a fashion that we're not used to."