Grand Slam * Stats & News
Updated: September 25, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Wladimir Balentien nears RBI-top
TOKYO (Japan) - Wladimir Balentien is closing in on the RBI-leader in the Central League, one of the two leagues in Nippon Professional Baseball. Tonight (Wednesday, September 25), Balentien batted 2-for-3, scored once and had two runs batted in a 7-6 victory of Yakult Swallows vs. Yomiuri Giants. With this, he raised his RBI-total this season to 124. That's only one behind league-leader Tony Blanco of Yokohama Bay Stars. Tonight, the Bay Stars won 4-2 vs. Hanshin Tigers, but Blanco, who batted 2-for-3, had no runs batted in. The first baseman returned to action last weekend after recovering from a hamstring-injury, but collected no RBI's in the three games he has played since.

When Balentien finishes the season in first place in the RBI-category, he might win the Triple Crown. With his 58 homeruns, he of course leads comfortably in that department, while he currently also is the leading hitter of the Central League. When the Swallows-leftfielder leads in all categories at the end of the season, Balentien wins the Triple Crown and with that becomes the first player in the Central League to do so since 1986. So far, only seven players have won a Triple Crown for a combined total of eleven in NPB-history. The last was accomplished in 2004 by Nobuhiko Matsunaka of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in the Pacific League. The last player to win the trophy in the Central League was Randy Bass of the Hanshin Tigers in the 1986 season after he also had led all three categories the season before.

On Tuesday, Balentien was ejected for the first time in his NPB-career after fiercely arguing a called strikeout by Home Plate Umpire Hitoshi Watarida. It was reported that he used two 'not so nice' words and when these were repeated, Watarida decided to eject him. On Wednesday, Balentien received a warning and was fined 100.000 Yen (750 Euro or 1014 US Dollar) by the Commissioner's office.

(September 25)

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