PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Hudson was pleased with his performance – when he was pitching out of jams.
With the bases empty, that’s another story.
Hudson allowed six hits and a run while throwing 80 pitches over four innings Monday, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 win over the New York Mets.
“About 75 of those 80 were stressful pitches,” Hudson said.
Justin Upton and Chris Johnson each hit solo home runs for the Braves. Marlon Byrd drove in both runs for the Mets.
Hudson gave up a hit to the first or second batter in each inning and often found himself in tough spots.
“It was good work for me,” he said. “I was able to pretty much have big situation pitches a lot – every inning. I was able to work out of most of them and make a good pitch here
and there. It was a great work day.
“I just wouldn’t be happy with it at all if it was June,” he said. “That’s what spring training’s for, I guess.”
Hudson got some help from catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, who threw out two base runners. Bethancourt nearly hit Hudson while throwing out Mets outfielder Collin Cowgill in the first inning.
“He’s really good back there,” Hudson said. “He threw out a couple guys, he almost threw me out once. He pulled a Benito Santiago on me from his knees. I thought I was low enough, but I wasn’t. He’s only going to get better.”
Mets starter Jeremy Hefner, who could be in the mix for a rotation spot if Johan Santana starts the season on the disabled list, went three innings, allowing three hits – including Upton’s homer – and struck out two.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Upton hit a high fastball well over the left field fence. Johnson, who went 3 for 3, connected in the seventh.
Byrd, a non-roster invitee, had a hit to continue his strong spring He is batting .400 in six Grapefruit League games.
“He’s done a great job,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He did play winter ball until a week before spring training. That helps him coming in here, but I like a lot of the things I see.”