Balentien moves closer to Japanese home run record
TOKYO (AP) — Wladimir Balentien of the Yakult Swallows hit his 49th and 50th home runs Tuesday to move within five of tying Japanese baseball’s single-season record.
Balentien hit a three-run homer in the second inning and added a solo shot in the seventh at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo. The Chunichi Dragons won the game 10-8.
Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh holds the record of 55 set in 1964 and matched by former major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002.
Balentien, a native if 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.
The Swallows have 33 games remaining in the regular season.