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3/15/2013 3:50 P.M. ET

Hefner fans seven in strong start against Braves

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: All eyes will be on David Wright as he returns to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday following an examination of his rib injury in New York. But the Mets will also be paying close attention to the diamond, where right-hander Shaun Marcum will start a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Marlins in a game that can be seen on MLB.TV. Marcum is coming off 3 2/3 scoreless innings in his previous Grapefruit League outing.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.