Posted August 27, 2013 on AP on Fox
Former major leaguer Wladimir Balentien hit his 55th home run on Wednesday, tying Japanese baseball's single-season record. Balentien matched the mark set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and equaled by ex-major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002. He has 21 regular-season games left to break the record. Balentien hit a solo homer in the sixth inning at Jingu Stadium and was presented with a bouquet of flowers after reaching home plate. Despite Balentien's home run, the Yakult Swallows lost 6-2 to the Hiroshima Carp. ''It's an honor to be tied with such great players,'' Balentien said. ''I'm relieved and happy I was able to do it here in front of our home fans.'' Balentien, who is from 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. Rhodes and Cabrera tied Oh's record with several games left but were then walked more and were unable to break it. Oh is a legend in Japan. His 868 career home runs, which surpassed Hank Aaron's then major league record of 755, made him a national hero. The single-season home run record is also highly regarded, and former New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui wore No. 55 in recognition of it. The closest Matsui got to breaking Oh's record was 50 homers in 2002, when he played for the Yomiuri Giants. The 29-year-old Balentien missed the first 12 games of this season because of a leg injury sustained while playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Balentien's challenge of Oh's record comes in a season in which there is controversy over a new, livelier baseball. In June, Japanese baseball officials admitted they introduced the new official ball this season without notifying players. The new ball has resulted in a dramatic increase in home runs.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Balentien moves closer to Japanese home run record

Wladimir Balentien hit two home runs Tuesday to move within five of tying Japanese baseball's single-season record of 55. Balentien's Yakult Swallows Swallows have 33 games remaining in the regular season for him to match the record set by Sadaharu Oh in 1964 and matched by former major leaguers Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002. Balentien hit a three-run homer...

Video: Brandon Phillips unleashes tirade toward beat writer

Emotions were running high in Cincinnati's clubhouse before Wednesday's series finale against the Cardinals, and understandably so. The Reds were in danger of getting swept in humiliating fashion to their division rivals, and more importantly, losing more ground in the pursuit of first place. So, after Tuesday's 6-1 defeat to the hands of the Cardinals, All-Star second...
NUMBERS DON'T LIE

Brandon Phillips cussed out reporter

Brandon Phillips cussed out a Cincinnati reporter who questioned his move in the team's lineup to the number two spot.

Reds release postseason ticket information

There is a very good chance that the Reds could be playing in their third postseason in the last four years this fall.  They entered play Monday night with a comfortable 7.0 game lead for the last National League Wild Card spot and trailed the Pirates/Cardinals for first place by just 2.5 games. Furthermore, their odds of making the postseason sat at a promising 99.1 percent...

Reds' Phillips verbally blasts beat reporter in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips verbally blasted a beat reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer before Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals. With media crowded in the visiting manager's office for Dusty Baker's pre-game presser, Phillips came to the door and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade. Baker was in the process of discussing a shakeup of...

Jim Bowden: Call up Billy Hamilton

Simply put, the Reds need a spark right now to inject some life in an otherwise lifeless-looking team. After watching their last handful of games, four of which have resulted in tough defeats, it has become clearly evident that the Reds are in desperate need of an off day or at least some time to recharge their batteries for the final month of the season.  In fairness, Cincinnati...

Reds move Phillips to 2nd in batting order

Brandon Phillips was moved to second in the batting order for the first time since opening day after tweeting, following approval by manager Dusty Baker, that it was time for a change. Before Wednesday night's game, Phillips yelled at a reporter for mentioning his .310 average with runners in scoring position over his 95 RBIs, which is among the National League leaders. The...

Eight Reds prospects selected to play in Arizona Fall League

The end of August also means the end of the season for most minor league teams across the country. Such is the case for several of Cincinnati's minor league affiliates, too. And while some prospects will pack up their bags and head home for awhile, others will take their talents to the Arizona Fall League to work on improving their game. Here are the Reds prospects who...

Johnny Cueto continues throwing program on road with the Reds

Johnny Cueto has been on the disabled list three times this season, but he hadn't traveled with the team to continue his rehab, until now. As reported by Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the reason that Cueto has joined the team on the road is so he can work with pitching coaches Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins, head trainer Paul Lessard and strength coach Matt Krause.  "He...

Brandon Phillips insults reporter for pointing out his on-base percentage

Brandon Phillips is apparently quite sensitive about his on-base percentage and would prefer reporters don't tweet about it.  Before Wednesday's game versus the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman barged into the media's interview with manager Dusty Baker to berate Cincinnati Enquirer beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans. Phillips didn't like that...

Ex-MLB'er Balentien Chases Japan HR Record

"Oh" My!You might remember Wladimir Balentien when he played for the Seattle Mariners. He was an OK hitter—in parts of three seasons in 'The Show' hitting a grand total of 15 HRs. Now, as a member of the Toykyo Yakult Swallows of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, he has collected 51 dingers (as of today) and is four bombs shy of tying the all-time Japanese...

Reds lose again to Cardinals, 6-1

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker is tired of losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. Baker was extremely frustrated after Cincinnati fell 6-1 at St. Louis on Tuesday night for its eighth loss in the last 10 games against the Cardinals. ''They're beating us pretty well and we've got to change it,'' Baker said. The Reds are 4-10 against the NL Central leaders...

Ballet dancer throws out first pitch at Reds game for “Cincinnati Ballet Day”

Sunday was “Cincinnati Ballet Day” at the Great American Ball Park for the Reds-Brewers game. Cervilio Amador, a principal ballet dancer, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman by doing a double pirouette. What matters is that it beat out the first pitch by Carly Rae Jepson. 

Redleg Weekly Episode 52 – Need to Close Out the Month

After 2 good weeks the Reds have a tough one and fall back in the standings. With the last month of the season coming up and with it the last chances to play the teams in front of us it’s time to buckle down. Use promo code “RedLeg” on CincyShirts.com to save 15% In this week’s show: Last Week 3-4 Overall 74-58 Division 3.5 back of St Louis, 3 Back of Pitt Tuesday (Lose...

Reds rout Cardinals, 10-0, to avoid sweep

No matter what order the Reds came to the plate in during the first inning of Wednesday's game the result was seemingly the same -- another Red on base another Red home. The end result was a 10-0 victory. With a shuffled lineup from Reds manager Dusty Baker the Reds scored six runs in the first inning off of Cardianls ace Adam Wainwright and then added three more for good measure...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.