The majestic Budweiser Clydesdales opened things up in their usual impressive fashion during a pretty, 75-degree afternoon.
The living Hall of Fame legends were on hand with the most recent Cardinal World Series championship trophies.
The Ford pickups carrying manager, coaches, players and Fredbird paraded around the field.
And a tribute to the recently-fallen Greatest Cardinal Of Them All – Stan Musial – touched the largest regular-season crowd in Busch Stadium III history.
Once the game started lefty Jaime Garcia continued his mastery over the hated Cincinnati Reds, matching a single-game career high with 10 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings and leaving the game with the lead.
Everything was lined up for a successful, satisfying St. Louis Cardinal Home Opener.
Everything except the short-handed Cardinal bullpen.
A 4-3 lead turned into a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning. And in the ninth inning things turned into a Reds' blowout, as Cincinnati torched Cardinal relievers for nine runs to spoil the home team's party, 13-4.
"That was a tough one to swallow," understated St. Louis Manager Mike Matheny following the game. "We had it right where we wanted it to be at the end and we just couldn't finish it off."
Even though the ninth inning was unusual, the outcome wasn't. It was the third straight home-opening loss for the Cardinals, and the sixth in the last seven years.
The greatest struggle was by fill-in closer Mitchell Boggs, who suffered what he called the worst outing of his career.
The right-handed Boggs (0-1) gave up seven runs – six earned – while recording a single out. He allowed two hits and walked four and now has a 14.54 ERA.
The biggest blow came from the guy who produced the loudest boos – Reds' second baseman and cleanup hitter Brandon Phillips. Phillips drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth when his bloop double fell just inside the rightfield line. Phillips also slugged his 150th career home run in the sixth.
Boggs wasn't the only bullpen member to falter. He was followed by lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. And in the eighth rookie flame-throwing right-hander Trevor Rosenthal was tagged with the blown save – his second of the season – by giving up the tying run.
Matheny says he continues to trust a bullpen knocked out of sync with the elbow injury to regular closer Jason Motte.
"I have faith in them to get the job done," Matheny said. "We always keep the door open. Those guys are there for a reason. They've earned that spot.
"We're not going to make any knee-jerk reactions."
The late bullpen failing gave Garcia a hard-luck no-decision. He no-hit Cincinnati over the first three innings and scattered six hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings, leaving the a 4-3 advantage. He has a 8-2 career record against the Reds.
Page 2 of 2 - Yadier Molina produced all four of the Cardinal runs, three of them coming on a pair of dropped-ball errors by first-year Cincinnati center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who has been a right fielder most of his career. Molina also had an RBI single in the fourth.
CARDINAL NOTES: A crowd of 47,375 was announced Tuesday, the largest regular-season attendance in stadium history.
During pregame ceremonies Musial's four children unveiled the No. 6 logo on the left-center field wall to honor their father.
Former Cardinal closer Jason Isringhausen and centerfielder Jim Edmonds threw out the first pitches.