For three tortured innings Saturday afternoon, Adam Wainwright found nothing except trouble.

In the aftermath of a dreary, rain-soaked, 9-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Cardinals' home opener, he didn't bother looking for excuses. He preferred to state the obvious.

"This is the worst game of my career, no doubt," Wainwright said.

A day dedicated to pomp and pageantry for the defending world champions became one of frustration for Wainwright, who faced the Cubs for the first time since beating them at Wrigley Field for his 20th win in September 2010. After a caravan of pick-ups ushered the team's Hall of Famers, coaching staff and players into the stadium, Wainwright never appeared to achieve typical movement on his pitches.

Saturday also was Wainwright's second start since ligament replacement in February 2011. By his admission there was little sharp about a day in which he allowed eight earned runs, seven on home runs.

"The last game in 2010 when I had a little elbow thing going on I went out there throwing 87, 88 (miles per hour) and just carved people up — the same team," said Wainwright, who that year finished as National League Cy Young Award runner-up to Roy Halladay. "I pitched for long stretches during the course of three or four years when you go weeks with tendinitis, dead arm, all kinds of crazy stuff, and I found a way to get outs."

This time, the visitors found him.

The Cubs jumped on Wainwright for a first-inning three-run home run and a rookie's third-inning grand slam. They evicted him with an 8-0 deficit after only 58 pitches.