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Keys to the game

James Needy pitched a complete-game four-hitter for Fort Wayne. But the TinCaps lost to West Michigan 1-0 in front of 5,428 fans Wednesday at Parkview Field.

The race for the Eastern Division's wild card spot tightened with the Whitecaps' win in the opener of an important three-game series.

Here are the highlights.

Costly error: The only run came in the second inning. With one out, Lance Durham and Pat Leyland singled. Brandon Loy flew out to center for the second out. Gabriel Purroy hit a grounder to shortstop Jace Peterson, who threw wildly to first. Durham scored on the error.

Stellar outing: Needy struck out five and did not walk a batter. He became the first Fort Wayne starter to have a nine-inning complete game since Stephen Faris on July 17, 2007.

No offense: Four West Michigan pitchers limited the TinCaps to three hits. West Michigan starter Wilsen Palacios gave up two hits in five innings.

Streaking: Travis Jankowski did extend his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the ninth inning.

Playoff update: With five games remaining in the regular season, Fort Wayne's (35-30, 66-69 overall) lead over West Michigan (34-31, 70-65) for the Eastern Division's wild card is down to one game.

Lake County is in the top spot among teams eligible for a playoff spot. The Captains have a two-game lead over Fort Wayne after defeating Bowling Green 7-2.

Lansing and Bowling Green qualified for the playoffs in the first half.

Fort Wayne has two games left with West Michigan and finishes with three at Bowling Green.

Quotable:

"We have five left. We have to win ballgames."

- Fort Wayne catcher Austin Hedges

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