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Suarez delivers encouraging start vs. Braves

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

ATLANTA -- For now, Albert Suarez remains a spot-starter. For the long term, he performed Wednesday night as if he eventually could occupy a key role on the Giants' pitching staff, either on the lower rungs of the starting rotation or as a long reliever.

Suarez encouraged the Giants in their 5-4, 11-inning loss Wednesday night to the Atlanta Braves. Making his first Major League start, he retired the first nine batters he faced, displayed a fastball that registered as high as 96 mph and proved that he could pitch to contact by coaxing a double-play grounder to end the fourth inning.

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ATLANTA -- For now, Albert Suarez remains a spot-starter. For the long term, he performed Wednesday night as if he eventually could occupy a key role on the Giants' pitching staff, either on the lower rungs of the starting rotation or as a long reliever.

Suarez encouraged the Giants in their 5-4, 11-inning loss Wednesday night to the Atlanta Braves. Making his first Major League start, he retired the first nine batters he faced, displayed a fastball that registered as high as 96 mph and proved that he could pitch to contact by coaxing a double-play grounder to end the fourth inning.

View Full Game Coverage

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training who was signed during the offseason as a Minor League free agent, Suarez, 26, replaced the injured Matt Cain and limited the Braves to three runs and three hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out four.

"He threw really well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "The kid did a great job."

For good measure, Suarez singled home a sixth-inning run -- impressive, considering he rarely handled a bat while playing for American League organizations in the Minors until this year.

Video: SF@ATL: Suarez plates Parker with first career hit

Suarez, who had made five relief appearances for the Giants before receiving this chance, wasn't overly nervous.

"That [starting] is what I've been doing my whole career in the Minor Leagues," he said. "I was excited to get up here to do what I need to do."

Sounding at once like a veteran and a rookie, Suarez identified what troubled him in the sixth inning, when he allowed a double and a triple and walked a batter, prompting his removal.

"I think I was trying to do too much, instead of trying to keep it simple, like I was doing earlier in the game," he said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Albert Suarez