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 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. Balentien, a native 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.