TOKYO – Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 52nd home run of the season on Friday to move within three of Japanese baseball's season record.
Balentien's Yakult Swallows have 30 games remaining in the regular season for him to equal 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's solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning at Jingu Stadium in Tokyo helped the Swallows beat the Yokohama DeNa BayStars 8-2.
Balentien, who was born in 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.