Winter League Highlights: Valbuena part of late heroics

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

As if Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena hasn’t played a big enough role for the Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela’s championship series against Magallanes, the 27-year-old was heavily involved in his team’s 3-2, 11-inning, Game 5 victory Monday night.

Valbuena finished the night 1-for-4 with a pivotal run scored. He singled to right in the sixth and moved to third after a C.J. Retherford single. But Valbuena was thrown out at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly to center, leaving the game tied at 2.

With a man on in the bottom of the 11th, Valbuena reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. With runners on first and second, Retherford also attempted a bunt, but Magallanes got the runner at third. After Tomas Perez walked to load the bases, Jose Yepez singled to center to score Valbuena and give Lara a 3-2 series lead.

Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano started for the Navegantes, allowing eight hits, one earned run and striking out five over six innings.

Game six is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30.

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