Yakult Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien hit 2 HRs (his 56th and 57th) to break the Japanese single-season record on Sunday, Sept. 15, in a 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers. The previous mark (55) was set by legendary Sadaharu Oh, in 1964.
The 29-year-old Curacao native, is in his third year in the NPB. The former Mariners & Reds player won the Central League HR title in each of his first two seasons and played for the Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The previous record, first set by Sadaharu Oh, then tied by Tuffy Rhodes in 2001 and Alex Cabrera in 2002, was reached in a 140-game season (NPB currently has a 144-game regular season schedule).
Update: The HR total for Balentien at the end of the regular season is 60. Overall, he hit a ridiculous .330/.455/.779 with 131 RBI in 130 games, reclaiming the Central League MVP Award.