Eric Campbell hits first big-league home run

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers
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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers against the New York Mets in the first inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Thursday, May 22, 2014.(Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

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He is the most recent naturalized citizen of the unstable Mets Nation. And with his first major-league homer Wednesday night, his .438 batting average and six-game hitting streak after just seven games, Eric Campbell has brought some foreign concepts to these environs.

At 27, he is just 12 days past his seven-plus minor-league seasons. But with his lusty two-out, two-run shot in the sixth inning, bringing the Mets from a 3-0 hole to 3-2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, "Supe got us back in the game," Terry Collins sai/d of Campbell.

Given the eventual 4-3 loss -- the Mets' sixth in seven games -- Collins acknowledged the need to think about keeping Campbell in the lineup "somehow, some way."

For now, Campbell (1-for-4) is Lucas Duda's understudy at first base and a pinch-hitting possibility, but Campbell insisted he also is comfortable as a corner outfielder, third baseman and even at second. "I'd be ready if they need me," he said. "And those at-bats off the bench mean a lot, too. So either way, it doesn't matter."

On May 10, with Ike Davis traded, Duda down with food poisoning and Josh Satin free-falling to a .176 average, Campbell was the last reinforcement summoned from the Las Vegas 51s, where he was hitting .355 and getting on base almost 45 percent of the time.

That team, of course, is named for the Nevada base thought by UFO believers to be inhabited by gray aliens, so perhaps there is the hint of an extraterrestrial conspiracy afoot. Here seems to be this strange being who knows how to put the ball in play.

"It's been a good two weeks," Campbell said. "Two weeks that I'll remember forever, for sure."

And he has the ball he socked into the leftfield stands. "I don't know how they tracked it down," Campbell said. "But they did."

Leaving this Triple-A immigrant feeling right at home.

"All your surroundings are better," he said. "Stadiums, the fans, the clubhouses, the food. But once you get on the field, it's really no different. You do get juiced up a little bit more -- especially if you're pinch hitting. You've got a lot of adrenaline. But everyone says it all the time: it's still 90 feet between the bases, still 60 feet from the mound, you've still got to throw it over the plate. So it's really all the same."

The Mets sincerely hope not.

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