WASHINGTON - There was a rare Oliver Perez sighting Monday during the Mets' 13-3 loss to the Nationals. Stranger still, Perez turned in one of the better performances for a pitching staff that struggled to do anything right against the last-place team in the NL East.

Jerry Manuel opted not to use Perez in the Mets' 18-5 romp over the Cubs on Sunday, but called on him against Washington for only his third appearance since Aug. 1. Perez gave up a double to Nyjer Morgan - the first batter he faced in the seventh - and allowed one run in his two innings. But he struck out three and did not walk a batter.

As for looking ahead, Perez plans to pitch somewhere this winter, perhaps in Mexico for his home team in Culiacán.

"I'll keep working hard and try to get my spot back," he said.

Gee whiz?

Dillon Gee expected to be in the majors much sooner than today, when the Mets will use him as the spot starter for the injured Johan Santana. Gee was one of the spring training prodigies in 2009 but missed most of that season with a shoulder injury; now he gets his chance after going 13-8 with a 4.96 ERA for Triple-A Buffalo. Gee also broke the Bisons' single-season record for strikeouts with 165 in 161 1/3 innings.

"I don't know how to explain that," said Gee, who is not a hard thrower. "They've just been coming for me."

Extra bases

Jose Reyes (oblique) said he felt much better after taking batting practice and could be ready to start Wednesday. . . The Mets called up Gee, Raul Valdes, Sean Green and Jesus Feliciano before yesterday's game.