MLB

Alex Cabrera breaks Venezuelan home run record

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP)

Former major leaguer Alex Cabrera has broken a three-decade-old Venezuelan record for most home runs in a season.

Cabrera hit his 21st home run on Sunday, a grand slam that soared into the left-field bleachers and surpassed the tally set in 1980 by former big league catcher Bo Diaz.

Cabrera, who turns 42 on Dec. 24, dedicated the feat to his wife. He said she arrived on Sunday in Venezuela from the United States.

''She gave me a kiss before the game and wished me luck,'' he said. ''I think that's what calmed me down.''

Cabrera had been struggling lately to add to his homer total for Los Tiburones, or Sharks.

With little more than a week to go in regular-season play in the winter league, Cabrera is on pace to become the first player to win a Triple Crown for leading the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.

Cabrera played part of the 2000 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's played in Japan ever since for the Seibu Lions.

The Venezuelan slugger was identified in the Mitchell Report in 2007 as one of several dozen major league players who were believed to have used banned substances.

The report chronicled the discovery of a bottle containing steroids in the Diamondbacks' clubhouse in September 2000. A clubhouse employee found the bottle and several hundred pills in a package that had been mailed to Cabrera, according to the report.

Cabrera has denied he ever used the drugs.

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