The Lansing Lugnuts became the first Eastern Division team to clinch a playoff spot Thursday, taking a two-game lead over the rest of the field with only three games left to play.
The Lugnuts won their fourth consecutive game, completing a three-game sweep of the Bowling Green Hot Rods with an impressive performance by Chase De Jong (7-4, 3.13 ERA). The right-hander pitched a complete game, striking out 10 batters while allowing only one run on four hits and three walks in nine innings.
He outdueled Brent Honeywell (4-4, 2.91 ERA), who gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out five batters.
For its final series of the first half, Lansing takes on the second-place Great Lakes Loons, who went 17-3 in their last 20 games. The Loons lead the wild-card race by one game over the Hot Rods and the Dayton Dragons and two games over the Lake County Captains.
The Dragons will play the Captains, and the Hot Rods will play the Fort Wayne TinCaps.