NEW YORK (AP) — Hit hard in his return from the minors, Rafael Montero tried to remain upbeat. His main lament was a misplaced slider on his final pitch.
"It just kind of landed somewhere else than where I wanted it to," he said through a translator.
Like, over the wall.
Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond homered off the Mets rookie, powering the Washington Nationals to a 7-1 win over New York on Tuesday night.
Montero (0-3) was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier in the day after impressive rookie Jacob deGrom went on the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis.
Montero struck out two in the first inning before the Nationals began to tee off.
The 23-year-old righty made his big league debut this year and started four times before getting sent down after pitching on May 30. He was the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the week before this promotion.
Montero has allowed four home runs in 80 minor league innings this season. In the majors, he has yielded eight shots in just 25 innings.
"The batters here are a little bit better," he said.
Montero was pulled after Desmond's two-run homer in the sixth.
"Well, it doesn't feel great but it doesn't discourage me. It's just part of the game. It's going to happen every once in a while and as a pitcher I just have to keep working through that," Montero said.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Montero would stay in the rotation.
"I'm going to talk to him, but you see he's got the weapons that he can be successful here with," he said. "But he's got to learn to locate them better."
After Rendon and Desmond homered in the sixth, Michael Taylor connected off reliever Carlos Torres later in the inning. The NL East leaders won their ninth straight at Citi Field.
Elevated from Triple-A over the weekend, Taylor singled in his first big league at-bat and later hit a two-run drive the opposite way at one of the majors' most spacious parks.
A ball boy ran out to right field to pick up Taylor's home run ball, but mistakenly tossed it to a young fan in the stands. Alerted to his error, the ball boy and a couple of security guards quickly worked out a trade of another ball to reclaim the prize.
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