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Rajai arrives in Uber in 3rd, hits HR for Mets

@AnthonyDiComo
May 23, 2019

NEW YORK -- Presumably, Rajai Davis gave his Uber driver, Jason, a five-star rating. Davis and Jason met around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, then spent approximately two hours together in an Uber from Allentown, Pa., to Citi Field in Queens, talking about all sorts of things. They chatted. They bonded.

NEW YORK -- Presumably, Rajai Davis gave his Uber driver, Jason, a five-star rating.

Davis and Jason met around 6 p.m. on Wednesday, then spent approximately two hours together in an Uber from Allentown, Pa., to Citi Field in Queens, talking about all sorts of things. They chatted. They bonded. Alas, the relationship could not last. Eventually, Davis had to exit the vehicle and go to work. Jason turned around and headed back to Pennsylvania.

Box score

“Me and Jason, we got to know each other,” Davis said. “Me and Jason, we were hanging out.”

The fare, according to Davis, was approximately $243; he plans to charge that to the Mets, who should be all too happy to pay. Six innings after arriving in Queens, Davis ripped a three-run homer in his first Mets plate appearance to cap a six-run, eighth-inning rally in a 6-1 win over the Nationals, guiding the Mets to their third straight victory.

“I’m just really grateful and thankful for the opportunity that the front office gave me,” Davis said. “I appreciate it. I’m trying to make an impact right away, and I was fortunate enough to be put in that position to make something happen.”

Summoned from Triple-A Syracuse at around 5 p.m., when the Mets decided to place Brandon Nimmo on the injured list, Davis fired up the Uber app to join a cadre of new faces in the Mets clubhouse. He is similar to a couple of them: infielder Adeiny Hechavarria and outfielder Carlos Gómez, both of whom also signed Minor League deals as the Mets tried to fortify their position-player depth this winter.

Once their regular players began falling -- Michael Conforto to the injured list last week with a concussion, Nimmo on Wednesday due to a neck strain -- the Mets found themselves leaning more and more on those insurance pieces.

Never was that more apparent than in the eighth inning on Wednesday, with Conforto, Nimmo, Robinson Canó and Jeff McNeil all sidelined and the Mets staring at a one-run deficit. Unable to score off Max Scherzer or the Nationals’ first two relievers, the team found life when Hechavarria -- in the game as a replacement for the injured Cano -- doubled. With two outs, Todd Frazier walked, then Washington closer Sean Doolittle entered and promptly plunked Gomez. That brought up center fielder Juan Lagares -- another reserve player pushed into a starting role.

Hunting a fastball, Lagares ripped a bases-clearing double into the gap in left-center, taking Mets starter Jacob deGrom off the hook for a tough-luck loss.

“That was huge right there,” Lagares said. “Like I always say, man, I just keep working hard and stay positive, and try to take advantage of every opportunity. You never know when you’re going to be the man, like tonight.”

An intentional walk of Wilson Ramos brought up Davis, a 13-year veteran of seven teams. Best known for his game-tying home run in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, Davis reunited this spring with another member of that Indians squad: pitching-coach-turned-Mets-manager Mickey Callaway, who called Davis “a winning player” and “infectious to everyone around him.” As if to prove it, the 38-year-old Davis hopped out of his Uber, slipped on a Mets uniform and clubbed Doolittle’s final pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer.

“Everybody loves Raj,” Callaway said. “He’s the man. And he’s been doing this for a while, so he has confidence in himself. He’s very, very prepared.”

The Mets were counting on that much. When Davis inked his nonguaranteed deal this winter, he did so with confidence that he would make the Opening Day roster. His assignment to Minor League camp late in March disappointed him, but he played well enough at Syracuse -- a .277 average and .747 OPS in 37 games -- to earn the Uber ride up to the big leagues.

At one point after Davis’ arrival, Callaway said, the newest Met became lost trying to find his way back into the clubhouse. Asked to corroborate that story, Davis grinned.

“I think I got lost for about a month and a half, maybe two months,” Davis said. “Now I’m found.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.