BOSTON (AP) — Carlos Beltran reached over the bullpen wall to deprive David Ortiz of a second-inning grand slam, then rubbed his right side in pain. He soon left the game and the ballpark, headed to the hospital for X-rays.
Even the good defensive plays were costly for the Cardinals.
One of the best-fielding teams in the league over the regular-season, the NL champs bungled their way into an early deficit in Game 1 of the World Series and went on to lose 8-1 to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night. 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,” manager Mike 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. Pitcher Adam 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.”
But Beltran’s catch, which turned a grand slam into a sacrifice fly and saved three runs, might actually turn out to be the most damaging. After finishing the half-inning, Beltran left the game with what was called a bruise and was taken to the hospital for X-rays and a CT scan.
Matheny said the tests were negative and Beltran’s availability would be evaluated daily. Game 2 is Thursday night in Boston.
“Obviously, he’s sore,” designated hitter Allen Craig said. “But hopefully he can get back tomorrow.”
Beltran, who is in the World Series for the first time in his 16-year career, 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 heading into the World Series.
Beltran had 12 RBIs in the NL playoffs this year. He struck out in his only at-bat Wednesday.
“He’s a huge player for us. Everybody knows that. We all know that,” Wainwright said, taking responsibility away from his fielders. “Tonight was a clear case of our starting pitching, being me, going out there and setting the wrong tone. That second inning completely (changes) if I catch the ball.
“The good news is, I didn’t show them anything I had. Everything I threw tonight was pretty much garbage,” Wainwright added.
The Cardinals could replace Beltran 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.
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.”