Balentien moves closer to Japan home run record

September 8, 2013 GMT

NAGOYA, Japan (AP) — Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 53rd home run of the season on Sunday to move within two of Japanese baseball’s season record.

Balentien’s Yakult Swallows have 23 games remaining in the regular season for him 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’s solo homer in the top of the sixth inning at Nagoya Dome helped the Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 5-1.

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.