SAN FRANCISCO – Perhaps tired of playing spectator to the opening weekend festivities at AT&T Park, the St. Louis Cardinals didn't even file into their dugout until partway through Sunday's pregame ceremony in which the Giants received their 2012 World Series rings.
Then they crashed the party.
After going nine-up, nine-down the first time through their lineup, the Cardinals jumped on Matt Cain for nine runs in the fourth inning of a 14-3 win to take the wind out of an announced crowd of 42,201 and the series from the Giants.
The nine runs equaled the most Cain has allowed in a game. The other time was April 18, 2008, also against the Cardinals. That was long enough ago that not one holdover remained in the St. Louis lineup Sunday, and Cain's catcher in that game was Bengie Molina, who is now the Cardinals' assistant hitting coach.
That was also before Cain owned two World Series rings, a perfect game and a nine-figure salary. But it wasn't as far removed as the only other time a Giants starter gave up nine or more runs in an inning – Sept. 27, 1902, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when John Cronin did it against the Brooklyn Superbas.
Sunday saw several aces across the game roughed up in their starts, including David Price (eight earned runs), Cole Hamels (eight), R.A. Dickey (seven) and Stephen Strasburg (six), and Cain took his outing in stride.
"Baseball has a way of humbling guys," he said. "You can be going along great and it can set you back. Some guys call it the baseball gods; they kind of find a way to even things out, and that's the way it goes. It's tough to have days like this, but you've got to move on."
Cain needed just 30 pitches to get through the first three innings. But of the 11 hitters he faced in the fourth, nine reached safely, seven on hits.
The two outs Cain recorded came on a sacrifice fly and a failed sacrifice bunt attempt.
Jon Jay led off with a single and moved to second when Angel Pagan bobbled the ball in center. Matt Carpenter singled, and Allen Craig drove in Jay with a sacrifice fly to right. Cain didn't retire another hitter until pitcher Adam Wainwright popped up a bunt to Buster Posey.
Matt Adams had the noisiest blow with a bases-loaded, ground-rule double over the wall in Triples Alley, and Carpenter hit a two-run single that knocked Cain out of the game. Reliever Jose Mijares hit Craig with his first pitch to reload the bases, then gave up a two-run single to Carlos Beltran.
"He was missing over the plate a little more than he normally does and falling behind in counts," Posey said of Cain. "And they put some good swings on him, too."
Manager Bruce Bochy said he let Cain go deep into a bad inning thinking if Cain got the third out, he could probably last a few more innings.
Before that, Bochy said, Cain "was locked in, throwing the ball great. They threw out good at-bats off him and it happens."
The Giants led 2-0 after Pagan doubled to drive in Brandon Crawford from third base and Pablo Sandoval singled to score Pagan in the third, giving them as many hits with men in scoring position in that inning as they had in their first five games. That was all the Giants managed against Wainwright.
The Cardinals added two runs in the eighth off Javier Lopez, both unearned, and three in the ninth against George Kontos. In the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Belt singled off Joe Kelly for his first hit of the season, Nick Noonan singled for his first major-league hit and Guillermo Quiroz drove in Belt with a single for his first hit as a Giant. It breathed some life into the remaining fans, who earlier had soaked in the nostalgia of the ring ceremony.
"They rained on our parade a little bit," Bochy said of the Cardinals.