This was no way to mark the memory of Stan Musial.
And no way to play before the biggest regular-season crowd in the history of Busch Stadium III.
The St. Louis Cardinals squandered the good vibes of a pregame ceremony honoring the greatest Redbird of all, then went splat before 47,345 disappointed fans in the home opener.
At least the weather was nice. Even if the play was anything but.
The Cardinals blew leads of 2-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 4-3, then imploded in Cincinnati's nine-run ninth inning to wipe out a 4-4 tie.
"I was not very good today," Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs said after surrendering seven runs (six earned) on two hits and four walks, two of them intentional, in the ninth. "I was trying to pound the zone today, and I didn't do it."
Long after St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia left with a 4-3 lead, it was difficult to remember how well he pitched. Maybe that's because of how badly his teammates pitched after he left.
The Reds had five baserunners in the first five innings, but 21 more from the sixth inning on. And 12 of those came in the debacle of the ninth inning.
"It was a tough one to swallow," a somber Mike Matheny said after his second home opener as Cardinals manager. "We had it right where we wanted it to be at the end., and we just couldn't finish it off.
"It gets back to making pitches -- you try to simplify things, and sometimes you make it more complicated than you need it to be."
Even the Reds had a hand in that: Cincinnati center fielder Chin-soo Choo saw two sure Yadier Molina outs clank off his glove, allowing three unearned runs for the Redbirds.
Let's see. That would have made the final 13-1 instead of 13-4.
Anyone feel better?
Not particularly, not after an ugly loss on an otherwise brilliant day for Cardinals baseball -- sunshine, 75 degrees, the emotion of the tribute to Musial, an early lead that refused to hold.
"Of course you want to win today," second baseman Daniel Descalso said. "You want to win every day, but you want to win that first one at home. We just weren't able to do it today."
Around a quiet Cardinals clubhouse, there were concerted efforts to look on the positive side of things.
"It's very, very early," Descalso said. "There's a lot of baseball yet to be played. We were in (the game) until the ninth -- that score out there at the end of the game is not indicative of how close the game was today.
"Jaime did a good job, and we just weren't able to get it home for him."
How worried are we to be about Boggs pitching in the ninth while waiting for Jason Motte to return from an elbow ailment?
How concerned should we be about flame-thrower Trevor Rosenthal, who hit 98 mph on his pitches in the eighth but still gave up two hits and the tying run?
How much do we chalk this up to the baseball gods, evening the score a day after the Cardinals were waltzing down the sunny side of the street?
Maybe it comes down to only that, and a taste of the Cardinals' own medicine: They scored nine runs in the fourth inning of their 14-3 win Sunday at San Francisco, only to see things from an entirely different perspective on Monday.
"It happens -- that's baseball," shortstop Pete Kozma said. "It happens. Hopefully it will happen to them tomorrow."
Joe Ostermeier, chairman of the St. Louis Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, has written about the Cardinals for the News-Democrat since 1985. He can be reached at (618) 239-2512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.