Vogelsong breaks hand in Giants' shutout win

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has resisted the temptation to remove struggling Ryan Vogelsong from the team's rotation.
Now he has no choice.
Vogelsong suffered two breaks in his right hand and dislocated the knuckle below his right pinkie during a fifth-inning at-bat Monday, putting a damper on what otherwise was a great night for himself and the Giants in an 8-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.
San Francisco, which ended a three-game losing streak, won the opener of a three-game series between 2012 division winners. However, the bad news certainly overshadowed the good.
"It does rain on your parade when you lose a starter," Bochy said after his team's 17-hit assault on three Nationals pitchers. "It's really a downer because tonight was the Vogey we know. That was the way he threw last year."
Vogelsong (2-4) earned his first victory since April 11 by completing five innings. His teammates supported him with six early runs before the right-hander was injured while batting against Nationals reliever Craig Stammen.
A right-handed hitter, Vogelsong swung at a Stammen fastball that was tailing in on his hands. The ball hit the back of his right hand while Vogelsong was still gripping the bat, producing immediate pain and a visit by the Giants' training staff.
Vogelsong was removed from the game and taken straight to the Giants' clubhouse.
X-rays taken at AT&T Park revealed a broken bone in the pinkie, one on the hand below the finger and a dislocated knuckle in between. Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, with the estimated recovery time being four to six weeks.
"I'll be back. There's no question about it," said Vogelsong, his hand already in a wrap shortly after the game and his right ring finger taped to the damaged pinkie.
"It was nice being able to get out there and have everything working. It's a nice place to start when I get back."
Bochy said he and Giants general manager Brian Sabean would talk Tuesday about options for replacing Vogelsong. Long reliever Chad Gaudin, who made 34 starts for the Oakland A's in 2007, is an option.
Vogelsong entered the game with the National League's worst ERA (8.06) among qualifying pitchers, but he managed to pitch through two Nationals threats while allowing fewer than four runs for the first time in nine starts this season. He gave up three hits and one walk, striking out two.
Coming off a two-inning flameout at Toronto, Vogelsong had the advantage of pitching with a lead from the early innings, with the Giants scoring twice in the second and three times in the fourth. Brandon Belt's sixth home run of the season, a solo shot, made it 6-0 three hitters before Vogelsong's fateful at-bat.
Angel Pagan's two-run, broken-bat single in the seventh inning, capping a three-RBI performance, completed the scoring.
"When we're clicking on all cylinders like we were tonight, we're a pretty dangerous team," said Belt, whose team was coming off a 1-5 road trip to Toronto and Colorado.
Belt had a career-best-tying four hits, Andres Torres had three hits, and Marco Scutaro improved his hitting streak to 18 games with two singles as the Giants rapped out 10 or more hits for the ninth time in the past 10 games.
Even so, seeing Vogelsong in pain and hearing the subsequent news ruined everything.
"It's not fun anytime a player like that goes down," Belt said. "He turned himself around tonight. Hopefully we can rally around him."
Zach Duke (0-1), starting in place of injured Ross Detwiler, took the loss. Washington dropped a third straight game and fell to 3-5 on its current 10-game road trip.
And the Nationals had to deal with injury news of their own. Reliever Ryan Mattheus punched a locker and broke his right (pitching) hand Sunday after giving up five runs in one inning in San Diego.
Mattheus didn't inform Nationals management about the injury until Monday, leaving the club's bullpen short-handed for the series opener in San Francisco.
"Going into that one being a couple of pitchers short was tough," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "It was tough losing Mattheus, and it was unfortunate he didn't tell anybody that he'd broke his hand the night before, and unfortunately we weren't able to have anybody here to help us out."
The Giants worked through much of their bullpen after Vogelsong's exit.
Javier Lopez, Jean Machi, Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt completed the three-hit shutout.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, playing for just the third time since crashing face-first into the right field fence at Dodger Stadium on May 13, went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a strikeout.
NOTES: Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche saw his 16-game hitting streak end when he went 0-for-3. Pagan, the Giants' center fielder, went to the fence to catch LaRoche's best bid for a hit in the second inning. ... The game pitted two starting pitchers -- Duke (8.40) and Vogelsong (8.06) -- with ERAs over 8.00, a first in a major league game since 2010. ... Duke's start left the Nationals without a left-hander in their bullpen. ... The Nationals learned earlier in the day that star RF Jayson Werth had another setback in his rehab from a right hamstring strain, and his projected return to the active roster has been postponed at least two weeks. ... Game 2 of the series Tuesday night matches staff aces who haven't performed up to expectations this season: Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.83) vs. Giants RHP Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43). ... Strasburg pitched and won at AT&T Park last Aug. 15, but unlike most of his out-of-town appearances, he was not the big story in San Francisco that day. That was the day Major League Baseball announced a 50-game suspension for Giants OF Melky Cabrera, the league leader in hitting at the time. ... The Nationals remain hopeful Detwiler (strained oblique) will be able to return to the rotation in his regular spot Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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