3/15/2013 3:50 P.M. ET
Pair of homers not enough for Braves vs. Mets
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Andrew Brown's eighth-inning single broke a 2-2 tie and backed Jeremy Hefner's strong start, and led the Mets to a 5-2 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Tyler Pastornicky's errant throw to first base allowed Collin Cowgill to advance to second base to begin the eighth inning. Cowgill raced home with the decisive run when Brown followed with a single to left field off right-handed reliever Cristhian Martinez.
Most of the struggles of Braves starter Tim Hudson were limited to the second inning, which began with Lucas Duda's home run over the wall in right-center. John Buck followed with a single and later scored on a double to left by former Braves prospect Brandon Hicks.
After Hefner proved perfect through the first two innings, Braves third baseman Juan Francisco opened the bottom of the third with a towering home run that sailed farther over the wall in right-center than Duda's impressive shot. Gerald Laird followed with a double, and Ramiro Pena drew a one-out walk, but Hefner escaped further damage by getting both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton to pop out to first baseman Zach Lutz.
Hefner appeared to be in trouble in the bottom of the fourth, which began with Freddie Freeman's long leadoff home run and consecutive singles by B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla. But the right-hander responded by striking out the next six batters that he faced.
That stretch concluded the impressive outing completed by the right-hander, who allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. Hudson allowed two runs and five hits in his season-high six innings. Both runs and three of the hits recorded against the veteran were tallied in the second inning.
Up next: Paul Maholm will be scheduled to complete six innings when the Braves host the Yankees at 5:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Maholm had everything working on Monday, when he limited the Nationals to two hits in five scoreless innings. Highly regarded prospect J.R. Graham is scheduled to make what could be his final appearance before he is sent to Minor League camp to stretch out to be a starter. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.