SAN FRANCISCO -- Andrew Suarez's return to the big leagues was very nearly overshadowed on a national scale.
Mike Soroka, the 21-year-old right-hander on the other side, had a perfect game going before Brandon Crawford launched a solo shot in sixth just as it was getting interesting. Suarez, on the other hand, gave up a solo homer to Ronald Acuña Jr. on his first pitch back in the majors.
But the 26-year-old settled in, showing the kind of stuff that made him so dependable for long stretches of his rookie year. Against Soroka, it wasn't nearly enough. The Giants lost 4-1 in their first meeting of the year with the Braves. But Suarez did show enough that manager Bruce Bochy said he'll be in the rotation for now.
"After that (homer) he really pitched great," Bochy said. "He did what we were hoping, kept us in the game and gave us a chance. He was a strike away from a great start."
Suarez was working quickly, sometimes in and out of trouble, through five. After the solo shot in the first, he didn't allow another run until the sixth, when he walked Nick Markakis with two outs and then hung a curve that rookie Austin Riley blasted to center. Suarez was trying to bury it in the dirt but left it up.
"I wish I got that one back," he said. "I just left it down the middle."
Suarez was charged with three earned runs in six innings, walking four and striking out five. In recent weeks the standard hasn't been that high for Giants starters, though, and Suarez gave the staff just the 11th quality start in 46 games. Madison Bumgarner has six of the other 10, and no starter other than Bumgarner had thrown a quality start since April 24.
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Suarez said he did not view this as an audition, but if it was, he passed. At the moment, he is in the rotation with fellow young starter Shaun Anderson and veterans Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija and Drew Pomeranz. That could leave the Giants with a fascinating decision to make before Tuesday's game.
They do not intend to carry 14 pitchers as they did Monday, and they may have to dump a veteran to add another infielder before Anderson takes the mound Tuesday night.