By Julian Linden

BOSTON (Reuters) - Carlos Beltran made an early exit from Wednesday's opening game of the World Series when he injured his ribs while saving a grand slam home run from Boston's David Ortiz.

The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder slammed into the bullpen wall at Fenway Park as he reached over to take a spectacular catch in the second inning.

Ortiz had to settle for a sacrifice fly that gave the Red Sox a 5-0 lead but Beltran paid a hefty price for his athleticism.

He did not return to the game in the next inning and team officials said he was taken to hospital for tests on his ribs.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny later told reporters it was too early to say whether Beltran would play again.

"Carlos was taken out of the game with an injury to his ribs," Matheny said.

"He went in to have X-rays done and CT scan here locally, and everything came back negative. He's going to be day-to-day."

Beltran's departure spoiled what had been a long-overdue first appearance in the World Series for the 36-year-old, playing his 16th season in Major League Baseball.

Beltran boasts the seventh-best postseason on-base percentage and slugging average in MLB history, but had never made it to the World Series.

Before this season, Beltran had been one win away from a World Series berth six times but his team lost them all.

In 2004, when he was playing for Houston, the Astros lost a seven game series to Cardinals.

In 2006, Beltran was playing for the New York Mets when they lost in seven to the Cardinals. Then last year, in his first season with the Cardinals, St Louis lost in seven games to San Francisco after leading 3-1.

Beltran struck out in his only at bat on Wednesday.

(Editing Greg Stutchbury)


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