Garcia was 1-for-2 with a walk in Saturday's game. His eighth-inning grounder on a hit-and-run play moved Craig Gentry into scoring position during a two-run rally and he made six plays at shortstop while filling in for Elvis Andrus.
"I didn't know how he was going to react," Washington said. "I know he didn't show any [signs] of being afraid in Spring Training, but this is not Spring Training. We tried to make him understand to relax, have fun and just go play. I'm happy that I can send him out there and trust him."
The hit-and-run play came in the eighth after Gentry led off with a walk against Mariners pitcher Carter Capps. Garcia turned on the first pitch to bunt and took it for a ball. Then, Washington decided to change the plan.
Washington decided to have Gentry try a straight steal, which meant Garcia would have to take the next pitch. Instead, Washington admitted he inadvertently gave the wrong signal. He put on the hit-and-run and Garcia hit a chopper over the mound. He was thrown out at first, but Gentry was still at second and later scored.
Washington said getting his signals crossed was a first for him.
"I guess when you try to do the right thing, mentally, the baseball gods still bless you," Washington said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.