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B.J. Upton stays hot at plate, but Braves lose

Mar 15, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) delvers a pitch to New York Mets right fielder Mike Baxter (23) at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 15, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) delvers a pitch to New York Mets right fielder Mike Baxter (23) at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tim Hudson may need some work before he's ready to start the season. But that doesn't appear to be the case with B.J. Upton.

The new Braves center fielder had two more hits Friday in a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets at Champion Stadium.

Upton, signed as a free agent over the winter, is hitting .444 (20-for-44) in the Grapefruit League and has 10 hits in 15 at-bats over his past five games. He was 2-for-3 with a double against the Mets.

Upton received a five-year deal worth $75.2 million to leave the Tampa Bay Rays, but he certainly has already won over his new team.

Hudson, meanwhile, is glad that it isn't time to start the season.

The veteran right-hander didn't struggle like he had in his previous start, when he allowed nine hits and six runs in five innings. But he was far from satisfied after giving up five hits and two runs in six innings against the Mets.

"A little better, but not a lot," Hudson said of his performance. "I'm still not where I want to be with my command.

"It's taking a little longer than I would like. I wish I was a little more fine-tuned. But there are still two weeks to go."

Both runs came in the second inning. Lucas Duda hit a leadoff homer and Brandon Hicks delivered an RBI double.

Hudson, who is three wins short of 200 for his career, threw 85 pitches and just 45 were strikes. The 37-year-old walked two and struck out one.

Hudson has a 5.40 ERA for the spring and has struck out just five while allowing 22 hits in 20 innings. He has hit four batters and walked five.

Juan Francisco and Freddie Freeman hit home runs for the Braves, but Mets starter Jeremy Hefner struck out the last six batters he faced in a five-inning outing. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out seven.

Francisco hit his third homer leading off the third inning and Freeman connected for his fourth to start the fourth inning. But after B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla followed Freeman's blast with singles, Hefner ended the inning with three strikeouts and then fanned the side in the fifth.

"I got mad more than anything," Hefner said of his strikeout streak. "I was less than thrilled with my performance before then."

The Mets have an open spot in their rotation because of the absence of Johan Santana and Hefner will likely fill it. He has a 2.93 ERA this spring and 15 strikeouts to three walks in 15 innings.

"He's throwing the ball very, very well," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

The Mets broke a tie with an unearned run in the eighth inning after a throwing error by Tyler Pastornicky and added two runs in the ninth off Cory Gearrin.

The Braves (11-11) will play a split-squad New York Yankees team at 5:05 p.m. today at Champion Stadium, with Paul Maholm scheduled to pitch.