Former Giants manager Roger Craig, the Humm Baby, went 10-24 for the 1962 Mets and always bragged, "You have to be a pretty good pitcher to lose 24 games." Otherwise, the manager would not have kept starting him.
The same went for Matt Cain on Sunday. Any other starter might have been yanked long before he could pitch the worst inning by a Giant in 111 years. Manager Bruce Bochy believed - wrongly - that his Opening Day pitcher would stanch the bleeding.
The Cardinals, forced to sit through three days of World Series and Buster Posey hoopla, tagged Cain for nine runs in the fourth inning of a 14-3 drubbing that soured a day that began with the Giants' World Series ring ceremony.
"That was definitely exciting for all of us," Cain said. "We were looking forward to seeing the rings. For myself and the rest of the guys, I wish I had done better to keep the excitement going. I'll try to remember the good part of the day, getting our rings and being excited about that."
A crowd of 42,201 had to be wondering if an interloper had stolen a No. 18 Giants jersey and taken the mound after Cain retired the first nine Cardinals on 30 pitches. In the fourth inning, the Cards treated Cain like a batting-practice pitcher.
Singles by Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter, followed by an Allen Craig sacrifice fly, halved a 2-0 Giants lead. Cain's day lasted eight more batters, and the only one he retired was pitcher Adam Wainwright, on a popped-up bunt.
St. Louis did not exactly pepper the gaps with baseballs. Cain walked two and allowed six singles among seven hits in the inning, with Matt Adams' two-run double the harshest blow.