Terry Collins did everything except shine the Bat-Signal in the skies above Citi Field.
With the Mets starting to falter after their rousing start to the season, Collins pinned his hopes for stopping a three-game skid Friday night on Matt Harvey, aka "The Dark Knight."
With fans in the stands sporting "Batman" masks, Harvey allowed five hits in seven innings as the Mets beat the Nationals, 4-0, before 33,178.
"I think the [losing] streak that we had the last couple games needed to come to an end," Harvey said. "I needed to throw up zeros, and fortunately enough, I was able to do that."
Harvey (5-0, 2.41 ERA) outdueled Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26), who allowed one run on a homer by Michael Cuddyer and struck out 10 in seven innings.
Harvey walked one and struck out three. The Nationals had scored 34 runs in their previous three games and had won 15 of their last 16 games at Citi Field.
"When you've got a No. 1 guy, it's great to have," Collins said. "You can depend on him. Their guy pitched a tremendous game. When they go head-to-head, that's what you should see is a game like tonight. It's pitch for pitch, hitter for hitter. Somebody gets lucky -- Mike got one -- so we'll take it."
Clearly, the Mets needed a stopper.
Harvey was removed for a pinch hitter after 93 pitches. Alex Torres came on for the eighth and allowed a single to Dan Uggla and a long drive to left-centerfield by Tyler Moore that was caught by Cuddyer in front of the 370-foot sign.
Collins, underscoring the importance of the game to the Mets (16-8), called on Jeurys Familia for a five-out save. He retired all five batters he faced for his 10th save.
The Mets led 1-0 until the eighth on Cuddyer's third home run, a fourth-inning shot to right-centerfield. It would not have been out of the ballpark before the Mets moved in the fences before the season. The Mets have hit two of the three "new dimensions" home runs.
Daniel Murphy broke open the game in the eighth with a three-run double that sailed over Jayson Werth's head in left after he slipped and went down to one knee. Otherwise, it would have been a sacrifice fly at best.
With the Mets having lost five of seven after an 11-game winning streak, general manager Sandy Alderson instituted a mini-shakeup late Thursday night. Alderson called up Dilson Herrera, 21, to play second base and shifted Murphy to third in place of injured David Wright (hamstring).
Herrera (0-for-3), who spent 18 games with the Mets in 2014, was welcomed back to the majors by a Scherzer fastball to the right forearm in his first at-bat.
Also under the spotlight was shortstop Wilmer Flores, who committed a costly error in Thursday's 8-2 loss to the Nationals.
Flores committed his seventh error when he threw high and wide to first on Uggla's one-out grounder in the fifth. Uggla moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Scherzer. Michael Taylor then hit a grounder to Flores and he made the routine play to end the inning. The crowd responded with cheers (some of them likely of the mocking variety).
Flores also went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Collins said he will have Saturday night off.
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