NEW YORK -- Rafael Montero didn't look even a bit different.
His pitch count quickly got out of control. Baseballs quickly flew out of the park. He started a game, and the New York Mets lost.
So much for the idea that Montero was now pitching like "the guy we'd heard about," as manager Terry Collins said Tuesday afternoon. On the first day of his second stay with the Mets, Montero instead pitched like the same erratic 23-year-old they saw the last time, when he made four unsuccessful starts in May.
Pitching against the first-place Washington Nationals, Montero allowed five runs on seven hits, including home runs by Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond. He threw 101 pitches and got only 15 outs, and the Mets lost, 7-1.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Montero was promoted on "merit" when New York needed a starter to take Jacob deGrom's spot while deGrom is on the disabled list. The Mets also no doubt hoped that Montero would look impressive enough to either make a case for a rotation spot next season or add to his value as a trade chip.
Perhaps he still will, but it didn't happen Tuesday night.
It's a National Citi: Is there any team more comfortable at Citi Field than the Nationals? Washington has won nine consecutive games against the Mets in New York, and is 23-4 at Citi Field since Sept. 11, 2011.
The Nationals have scored at least seven runs in three of their four games at Citi Field this year. The Mets have scored seven runs just eight times in 56 home games.
It's a Fister Citi, too: Nationals starter Doug Fister was pitching at Citi Field for just the second time, but both games were outstanding. Fister shut out the Mets on seven hits in seven innings Tuesday, which means he has now pitched 13⅓ innings here while allowing just one run.
Is that Wright? David Wright extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning single that tipped off the glove of Rendon at third base. Wright, who also singled in the eighth inning, has 14 hits during the streak -- 13 singles and one double.
"He's getting hits," Collins said Tuesday afternoon. "That's all I care about right now."
Raining on Bryce: Arizona's Aaron Hill lost a home run to rain earlier this season at Citi Field, when a May 23 game in which he went deep off Bartolo Colon had to be stopped after 3½ innings and couldn't be resumed. The same thing could have happened to Harper on Tuesday. He homered off Montero in the second inning, and rain came in the top of the third.
In this case, though, the rainstorm was heavy but brief, and the game resumed after just a 25-minute delay. It rained again later in the game, but the umpires decided it wasn't too heavy and allowed the game to go on.
Span stopped: The Mets did keep Nationals leadoff man Denard Span off base, ending a streak that had seen him reach via hit or walk in 36 straight games dating back to June 28. Span went 0-for-5 on Tuesday.
What's next: Colon (11-9, 3.97), who earned his 200th career win over the weekend in Philadelphia, goes for No. 201 on Wednesday night at Citi Field. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.06) starts for the Nationals.