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Balentien hits 54th homer, 1 shy of Japan record

September 10, 2013

TOKYO (AP) — Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 54th home run of the season Tuesday to move within one of Japanese baseball’s season record.

Balentien has 22 regular-season games left to reach the record of 55 set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched by ex-major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002.

Balentien hit a two-run homer in the first inning at Jingu Stadium but his Yakult Swallows lost to the Hiroshima Carp 9-3.

Balentien, who is from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds before signing with the Swallows in 2011. He hit 31 homers in each of his first two seasons in Japan.

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