‘‘Do I look overanxious? You think so?’’ he said to one reporter. ‘‘Maybe you should be a hitting coach.’’
Zimmermann lasted a season-low three innings while pitching on eight days’ rest. His next-shortest outing this year also was against the Cardinals, when he coughed up a four-run, first-inning cushion and was chased after yielding eight runs in 3 2-3 innings during a 10-9 loss at home.
The numbers weren’t favorable for the 25-year-old right-hander prior to first pitch, given he’s 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Cardinals. They were 3 for 5 with runners in scoring position against a pitcher who led the majors by holding opponents to a .160 average.
‘‘They have a great lineup,’’ Zimmermann said. ‘‘You get a few guys out and then you've got Beltran, (David) Freese and it never stops. You have to make your pitches and I wasn’t able to do that tonight.’’
Nationals batters made contact on just four of Garcia’s 24 pitches in the first, threatening with a pair of walks. Garcia went to a full count on five of his first eight hitters, and threw 51 pitches in two innings while surrendering Zimmermann’s RBI single in the second.
The Cardinals had 18-game winner Lance Lynn warming up in the second and the right-hander stood on the bullpen mound during St. Louis’ four-run inning. Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker stood on the top dugout step while Pete Kozma struck out for the first out in the second and it was no decoy, with Schumaker contributing a run-scoring groundout to the rally.
Before heading to the on-deck circle, Garcia knew he was done for the day.
‘‘I told them when I went in that I was coming out,’’ he said.
Lynn, who would likely replace Garcia in the rotation, struck out five in a three-inning stint marred by the consecutive homers.
‘‘I was ready from the get-go in case anything happened,’’ he said. ‘‘Something I was able to do at times this year, able to be down in the bullpen a little bit, and I was able to use that experience.’’
St. Louis opened the second with four straight hits, singles by Craig and Yadier Molina that set the table followed by an RBI double from Freese and a run-scoring single from Descalso.
NOTES: Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook, rehabbing from a pulled oblique, will leave the team for a few days to be with his wife, due to deliver the couple’s fourth child. GM John Mozeliak said it’s ‘‘not likely’’ that Westbrook, a 13-game winner, will be able to pitch this fall. ... Beltran has 13 career postseason homers. His last two-homer game in the postseason was Oct. 15, 2006, with the Mets against St. Louis in the NLCS. ... The Cardinals matched the franchise high for runs in a division series game. They also scored 12 in 2002 against Arizona.