Grand Slam * Stats & News
Updated: October 9, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

No Triple Crown for Balentien; Jones in Play-Offs
TOKYO / SENDAI (Japan) - Wladimir Balentien has finished the regular season in Nippon Professional Baseball with a .330 batting averege. With that, he finished just .003 points behind Tony Blanco, who led the Central League with a .333 average.

Balentien batted 145-for-439 this season for Yakult Swallows and had a chance of winning the Triple Crown. To do so, a player has to lead in batting average, runs batted in and homeruns. But as mentioned, the outfielder finished just behind Blanco. The first baseman of Yokohama Bay Stars also led with 136 runs batted in, while Balentien collected 131. The Dutch outfielder of course led with 60 homeruns, breaking the all-time single-season record in Japan, which was orgininally set in 1964 by legendary slugger Sadaharu Oh, who then hit 55.

With the Swallows, Balentien finished the season on Tuesday, October 8 with a 4-3 loss vs. Yomiuri Giants, the champion of the Central League. Balentien started in leftfield and was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI. He was taken out of the game after the top of the third inning. While he still had a slight chance to become the leading hitter, he was replaced out of precaution, as he is still recovering from an Achilles-tendon injury. On Sunday, Balentien was used as pinch-hitter and walked.

The Swallows closed the season with a 57-83 record and four ties to finish in last place in the Central League.

Yomiuri Giants won the Central League-title with an 84-58 record and three ties to qualify for the Second Stage of the Climax Series, the Play-Offs en route to the Japan Series. In the First Stage, Hanshin Tigers and Hiroshima Toyo Carp will meet in a best-of-three, starting next Saturday.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the team of Andruw Jones, won the championship in the Pacific League. Jones finished the season with a .244 average (115-for-471), 93 RBI's and 26 homeruns. In the First Stage in the Pacific League Play-Offs, Saitama Seibu Lions and China Lotte Marines will meet each other. As champion, the Golden Eagles automatically qualified for the Second Stage of the Climax Series, but the team from Sendai will also see action during the First Stage. On Saturday and Sunday, the first two game-days of the First Stage, the Golden Eagles will meet ORIX Buffaloes in two make-up games of the regular season.

The winners of the First Stage advance to the Second Stage and then meet the league-champions in a 6-game series. The champion will start the series with an one-game advance.

The winners of the Second Stage qualify for the Japan Series.

(October 9)

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