The short fence in right field at Fenway, as unassuming as it may be, is still undefeated.
Outfielders have made their runs — so concerned with the possibility of robbing a home run that they ignore the wall altogether.
It has shown no mercy.
Back in May, Shane Victorino tried running through it, and it sent him crumpling on the warning track.
He ended up at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Just two weeks ago, Torii Hunter tried high jumping it in a futile attempt to keep a David Ortiz grand slam in the ballpark.
It sent him cartwheeling into the Red Sox bullpen, legs splayed upward in disarray as the arms of a now famous police officer shot upward in celebration.
When Ortiz shot another ball deep toward the wall, it seemed as if Carlos Beltran would manage to steal a win off the wall.
The Cardinals had already thrown themselves into an early a 3-0 ditch, when Ortiz stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the second.
After missing with a curveball, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright decided to play chicken, firing three straight fastballs at Ortiz.
Ortiz blasted the last one right at the fence.
Beltran managed to chase it down, reaching over the wall to save the homer and keep the Cardinals from being caught under a snowball that was already rolling.
“He made a great play,” Wainwright said. “The game could have spun out of control there had he not made such a great play on the ball there.”
It turned out Beltran’s victory was a small one. The price he ultimately paid came in the form of a rib contusion that would land him in MGH, the same as Victorino.
From behind home plate, Yadier Molina thought like Wainwright. But once Beltran got back to the dugout, he knew the wall had taken its toll.
“I was thinking it was a great play,” Molina said. “I never thought that he was going to be hurt on the play. When we got the three outs, we got back to the dugout, I got the news that Carlos was hurt. It’s sad. It’s too bad.”
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said X-rays and CT scans were both negative and Beltran returned to Fenway to speak with team trainers.
But his status for Game 2 on Thursday is uncertain.
“I hate speculating,” Mozeliak said. “Obviously, we’ll see how he looks tomorrow and at some point, I probably can add more color to it.”
A 16-year veteran, Beltran had played for five teams in both leagues and reached the postseason three times before this season but he had never been to a World Series.
“It’s tough,” Molina said. “It’s tough when you see a guy like that wait for so long for a game to go down in the second inning. It’s too bad. Too bad.”
His catch turned what would have been a grand slam into a sacrifice fly that allowed David Ross to jog in from third.
He was replaced in the lineup by Jon Jay, who played center field while Shane Robinson moved from center to Beltran’s spot in right.
“I saw him hit the wall hard and he made a really good catch,” said designated hitter Allen Craig. “I was hoping that he’d be OK. Obviously he’s sore. But hopefully he can get back tomorrow. That short wall is different, but Carlos made a great play on that ball.
“I could tell he was a little sore. Obviously he couldn’t continue.’’
Earning his paycheck day in and day out in right field, Victorino could empathize, especially having been in the same battles with the short fence.
“It is a tough place to play,” Victorino said. “One, because of the angle, the right-field line, how the ball plays down there.
“I hope he’s better, I hope he’s fine. For me, I don’t want to see him out there, because he’s a great player. But I don’t ever want to see somebody get hurt.”
No one wanted to consider the magnitude of losing Beltran for any stretch of the World Series, knowing how important his bat has been throughout the postseason.
Coming into the series, Beltran had hit two homers and driven in 12 runs. More than the power numbers, he was perpetually on base, hitting three doubles, a triple, and drawing eight walks.
“He’ll be fine,” Wainwright said. “He’s banged up a little bit, but he’ll be fine.
“We all hopeful of that. He’s a big reason why we’re here today. We’re proud to be in the position we are with him as our teammate.”Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.