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04/29/2008 3:04 AM ET
Balentien hits No. 3 the hard way
Tacoma right fielder completes three-homer night with inside-the-parker
Tacoma's Wladimir Balentien is hitting .254 with six homers and 20 RBIs this season. (Shawn E. Davis/


Wladimir Balentien picked an exhausting way to cap his first career three-homer game on Monday night.

The 23-year-old right fielder hit a pair of conventional long balls before circling the bases on a ninth-inning inside-the-parker as the Tacoma Rainiers outslugged the New Orleans Zephyrs, 15-9, at Cheney Stadium.

Balentien, who entered the game with no homers and one RBI in his previous five games, didn't take long to embark on his best effort of the year. He led off the third with a solo homer, launched a two-run shot in the fifth and had a man on second when he ran around the bases in the ninth, giving him a season-high five RBIs.

"I was thinking I had a chance for a triple when I got out of the box, but once I rounded second I saw I had a chance to make it all the way to home plate," Balentien said. "The throw was up the line. I slid in and when I got back to the dugout the guys were joking a little bit about me going all the way around."

It was the 10th multi-homer game of Balentien's career and he fell fell two shy of his career-best RBI total from July 19, 2003 for the Arizona League Mariners. The native of Curacao hit .291 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for Tacoma last season before making his Major League debut for Seattle with a pinch-hit, two-run double against the New York Yankees on Sept 4.

"When my manager told me I got the call-up I was so excited," he recalled. "After all the work I put in all season I just wanted to show that I could do the job there."

Balentien hit his first big league homer off Cleveland's Fausto Carmona on Sept. 26.

"That was a very special moment for me," he recalled. "He was one of the best pitchers in baseball at that point. When I hit it, I just thought 'Wow'. It was a great feeling."

After spending all but three days in Mariners camp this spring, Balentien has set loftier goals for his future, but knows there's a little work yet to be done.

"They want me to work on a few things in Triple-A -- my defense and base stealing," he said. "I want to show I can be an everyday player up there."

Jeremy Reed went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Jeff Clement collected three hits and scored twice and Bryan LaHair and Charlton Jimerson added solo homers for the Rainers (13-10).

Tacoma starter Robert Rohrbaugh (3-1) allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks while fanning three over 5 2/3 frames.

Chris Aguila went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and five RBIs and Michel Abreu had three hits and scored twice for the Zephyrs (14-10).

New Orleans starter Joselo Diaz (1-3) surrendered six runs -- four earned -- on five hits and six walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

Steve Conley is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.