Just one spot remains in the 2013 Caribbean Series and the competition for that final berth is going right down to the wire. The Navegantes de Magallanes and Cardenales de Lara are running neck and neck for the title of Venezuelan Winter League champion, and after a Magallanes win on Tuesday night, the winner of the VWL and the final participant in the 2013 Caribbean Series will come down to a decisive Game 7.
Venezuelan Winter League Championship Series: Navegantes de Magallanes 7, Cardenales de Lara 3
With elimination on the line, the Navegantes de Magallanes came out strong and carried their early momentum to a 7-3 victory. The Cubs’ Luis Valbuena got Lara on the board first with a solo homer in the second inning, but Magallanes responded with 4 in the bottom of the inning on a 3-run homer by the Royals’ Mario Lisson and an RBI single by the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus. Lara got a run back in the 3rd to make it a 4-2 game, but Giants star Pablo Sandoval ended all hope of a Lara comeback in the bottom of the inning, drilling a 3-run homer, his 6th of the VWL Postseason to lead all players, to make it a 7-2 game. Even after a strong 2012 MLB Postseason highlighted by his 3 home runs in Game 1 of the World Series versus the Detroit Tigers, Sandoval continues to do everything he can to help his team win in the VWL playoffs. Gustavo Chacin, the ex-13-game winner for the Toronto Blue Jays, gave Magallanes 5 solid innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2, and the bullpen behind him let up just 1 additional run as Magallanes coasted to a big Game 6 win to force a Game 7 in the VWL Championship Series. Sandoval has been huge for Magallanes, hitting .295 with 6 homers and 23 RBI in 20 games for them this Postseason, and they’re going to need him to come up huge once again as the Navegantes and Lara risk it all with the winner going to the Caribbean Series.