How is Wladimir Balentien not on a major league roster somewhere, even as DH?
The Netherlands’ big basher slugged a two-run homer — his tournament-leading fourth of the World Baseball Classic — in the first inning of the semi-final tilt with Puerto Rico Monday night.
Balentien, a native of Curacao who last played in the major leagues with Cincinnati in 2009, ripped a 89 MPH fastball from Puerto Rico starter Jorge Lopez into the Dodger Stadium bleachers and followed it up with a Jose Bautista-style bat flip and chest pounding.
WOW. Wladimir Balentien was PUMPED UP by his homer to kick off tonight’s WBC game against Puerto Rico. pic.twitter.com/XvR4Oy5eBZ
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 21, 2017
The Puerto Ricans would get to pound their own chests later, however, as they walked off a 4-3 win on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th to secure a berth in the final against either the USA or Japan on Wednesday.
Balentien has been a sensation in Japan since leaving the major leagues, breaking Sadaharu Oh’s single season National Professional Baseball home run record with 60 in 2013.