ST. LOUIS -- It was a rapid unraveling for Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, who couldn't contain the D-backs' offense without his usual pitch movement and was unable to make the in-game adjustment necessary to extend his afternoon on Sunday.
His outing, by default, was brief, lasting fewer outs (seven) than allowed hits (10). Arizona rode that early wave of offense against Garcia to a 7-2 win that clinched a series victory at Busch Stadium.
"It's one of those days," manager Mike Matheny said, "he's going to want to forget."
Before he erases the start, however, Garcia sought to learn from it. Sent to the showers in the third inning, he had plenty of time to cue up video of his performance. Garcia zeroed in on his mechanics and was able to reaffirm that his arm angle had been off for most of the day.
It's an adjustment Garcia will have to wait to make in his upcoming side session after not succeeding in altering it on the spot on Sunday.
"I was trying to find it back, but they didn't let me," said Garcia, who failed to finish three innings in a regular-season start for the first time since June 2012. "They kept swinging at the first pitch, and they were hitting it on the ground and finding holes, hitting it in the air."
Arizona did ambush him with an aggressive approach. Of the 15 balls put in play against Garcia, eight came on one of the first three pitches Garcia threw in the at-bat. The D-backs went 3-for-4 against him when putting the first pitch in play.
Garcia had nothing to foil that approach, either, since he couldn't create much movement, a problem he noticed when he was warming up before the game. He garnered one swing-and-miss in his 55-pitch outing, and that didn't come until Garcia's 46th pitch. For the second time in 126 career starts, Garcia did not record a strikeout.
"You see him give up that many hard hits in the first, you know something is off," Matheny said. "His whole deal is deception and movement. When the ball flattens out and it straightens out, he's going to give up some hard hits. It was one right after the other."
A handful of those hits narrowly eluded diving defenders, which complicated things further. Garcia was particularly critical of his own inability to get off the mound quicker to stop Michael Bourn's squibber in the second. Instead of nabbing it for the second out, Bourn reached and Paul Goldschmidt followed with an RBI single.
Eleven of the 16 batters Garcia faced reached against him. His short start bloated the rotation's ERA to 4.24.
"It was just one of those days. No excuse," Garcia said. "You try not to beat yourself down too much because I'm really hard on myself and I expect a lot of great things from me. I just didn't get the job done."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.