KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Jon Lester knows he has some work to do before he makes his first opening-day start for the Red Sox on April 1 at Texas.

“It’s a big honor but it’s still a work in progress down here,” said Lester after giving up eight hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday in Boston’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta.

Lester wasn’t nearly as good as he had been in his first two Grapefruit League starts, when he allowed no runs and struck out six in six innings.

He tired in the fifth inning and gave up two runs after retiring 10 of 11 following three straight hits to start the game. He struck out four and walked two.

“The first inning was a little rough. I left some balls up,” Lester said. “I made the adjustment the second through fourth innings. Then it got away from me a little in the fifth.”

“One more start and I’ll be ready to go.”

Boston Manager Terry Francona informed Lester he had the opening-day job in a text months ago. He was just told to keep it to himself until the manager finally went public Wednesday.

“It was short and sweet,” Lester said of the text. “I think I was in a deer stand.”

The 27-year-old Lester had a 19-9 record with a 3.25 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 208 innings last year.

“I think he deserves it,” Francona said. “I think he kind of has that stature in the game now where other teams probably look at him as No. 1.”

Tommy Hanson continued to build on his impressive spring with the Braves despite giving up a quick home run. Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro hit the second pitch of the game over the left-field fence, but the only other base runner in Hanson’s five innings came on a second-inning single by Ryan Kalish.

Hanson struck out five, including his last three batters to end a stretch of 10 straight outs. He retired 15 of 16 batters and lowered his spring ERA to 1.29.

“It felt good,” Hanson said. “It was definitely one of my better outings.”

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, coming back from reconstructive knee surgery, was 2 for 3 and drove in the first-inning run. He is batting .375.

Boston scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to tie it, but the Braves scored the deciding run on a bunt in the bottom of the inning.

NOTES: Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis made two diving stops and Scutaro made a nice play at shortstop going to his left. … John Lackey is scheduled to start today for the Red Sox against the New York Mets. … Derek Lowe will make this third straight opening-day start for the Braves on March 31 at Washington, Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced after the game. Tim Hudson will start the home opener against Philadelphia on April 8. … Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, bothered by a sore back, didn’t play for fifth straight day. His return remains day to day.