ST. LOUIS -- It took him 16 years to reach this stage, and Carlos Beltran is not ready to leave just yet.
Down three games to two in the World Series, the Cardinals will enter a hostile environment in Boston, needing to win back-to-back games for their 12th championship and Beltran's first.
"We're looking forward to that, honestly," Beltran said of heading into Fenway Park for Games 6 and 7. "I think being able to win [Game 2] over there, we know we can win there. It's about us finding a way to win the first game over there and pushing the series to seven games."
Despite being one of baseball's greatest postseason hitters, Beltran had never reached the Fall Classic before this season. Through Game 5 of the World Series, Beltran has hit .335 (59-for-176) in 50 playoff games. His 16 October home runs puts him ninth among the all-time postseason batting leaders, one spot ahead of Babe Ruth.
In the 15 seasons since his Major League debut in 1998, the 36-year-old outfielder came within a game of the World Series three times before finally make it this year. Beltran lost Game 7 of the National League Championship Series with the Astros in 2004 and the Mets in '06, both against the Cards, whom he joined in 2012.
But Beltran joined St. Louis one season too late. In the year following their 2011 championship run, the Cardinals, and Beltran once again, fell one game shy of the NL pennant. They raced out to a 3-1 lead over the Giants only to be outscored, 20-1, in the next three games.
St. Louis has trailed, 3-2, in the World Series six times before and has come back to win on five of those occasions. It happened just two years ago, though both games were won at Busch Stadium. The Cards will have to win consecutive games on the road to keep Beltran's championship aspirations alive.
"The good thing is just the experience that we've had in the past years," Beltran said. "A lot of guys have been here before me. In the recent years, they've been in situations where things have looked tough and they've been able to pull it off.
"No one said it was going to be easy, this series, and we knew that Boston was going to go there and play hard. That's what they have done, they have played hard and found a way to win. Now this series is going back to Boston, but at the same time, we know we can win over there."
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.