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Sandoval celebrates another championship

Venezuelan Winter League

Magallanes 11, Lara 9
Almost exactly three months after winning World Series MVP honors, Pablo Sandoval helped the Navegantes capture their first championship since 2002.

The Giants slugger homered for the second night in a row, doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored twice as Magallanes held off the Cardenales in the decisive seventh game of the Finals.

Nationals farmhand Carlos Maldonado fell a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs to help the Navegantes nail down the final spot in the Caribbean Series, which begins Friday in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Magallanes' Juan Rivera, who signed a Minor League contract with the Yankees earlier this week, contributed three hits, including a two-run homer. Hector Gimenez added a solo shot as the Navegantes built an 11-5 lead after five innings.

Blue Jays newcomer Luis Jimenez started Lara's comeback in the sixth with his second homer of the night, a two-run blast off reliever Fabio Castro. Former Major Leaguer Oswaldo Navarro added a two-run shot in the ninth, but Enrique Gonzalez retired the next three batters -- fanning two -- to finish off the Cardenales. Box score

Luis Jimenez, Carlos Maldonado, Pablo Sandoval