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

Balentien has 23 regular-season games with the Yakult Swallows 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.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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