Boston, MA – Carlos Beltran waited his whole life to play in the World Series.
After 16-big league seasons, 2,064 regular season games and a slew of personal heroics in the playoffs, Beltran experienced his first Fall Classic on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals slugger, that experience lasted all of two innings.
Beltran chased after David Ortiz's would-be grand slam in the second inning and made a terrific catch at the wall just as he crashed into it.
He was in obvious pain after the dramatic grab, which proved to be a long sacrifice fly that gave the Red Sox a healthy 5-0 lead. When he came into the dugout at the end of the inning, he went to the locker room and was replaced in the lineup by Jon Jay.
The Cardinals, who uncharacteristically committed three errors in the 8-1 loss, announced Beltran suffered a right rib contusion and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Whether or not Beltran misses any time remains to be seen. X-rays and a CT scan came back negative, and the All-Star is considered day-to-day.
St. Louis has a strong lineup, one that led the NL in runs during the regular season and welcomed the return of Allen Craig, who served as the designated hitter in his first action since suffering a foot injury on Sept. 4.
But the Cardinals recorded only one extra-base hit in the Series opener -- Matt Holliday's home run in the ninth -- and struck out 10 times.
They need Beltran's opportunistic bat if they intend to avenge their World Series loss to Boston nine years ago. In 45 career postseason games leading up to this World Series, Beltran compiled a .337 batting average and an amazing 1.173 on-base plus slugging percentage. His 16 postseason home runs rank eighth all-time.
Beltran, 36, struck out in his only at-bat Wednesday and will hopefully get another chance to step back into the box this series.
Otherwise, it will be a crushing disservice for a postseason legend.