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WORLD SERIES: Beltran leaves game after making slam-saving catch

by JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer on October 24, 2013 10:55 AM

BOSTON — 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 was not 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.

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.”

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