SAN FRANCISCO - Ryan Vogelsong felt the best he had in months, then it all ended on one painful swing.
The right-hander broke his throwing hand chasing an inside fastball after pitching himself toward his first win in seven starts, and the San Francisco Giants returned from a terrible road trip to beat the Washington Nationals 8-0 on Monday night.
Vogelsong was injured while fouling a ball off his hand in the fifth inning. He grimaced in pain while grabbing the hand — knowing immediately it was serious. He was quickly examined near the batter's box and left the game.
Vogelsong broke two bones along the right pinkie and dislocated a knuckle the area that the medical staff couldn't get popped back into place. He was scheduled for surgery Tuesday morning at Stanford and said he likely would have pins inserted to stabilize the hand and help speed the healing process.
"We're not talking about Tommy John or anything here," Vogelsong said, his eyes misty. "Basically as fast as we can get it to heal so I can start throwing again."
Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced after the game that reliever Ryan Mattheus broke his pitching hand punching a locker in frustration Sunday. The right-hander allowed five runs in one inning of Washington's 13-4 loss to the San Diego Padres, but didn't tell the team about the injury until just before Monday's game.
"Last night after the game he came in and was in the locker room and banged his glove against his locker with his hand in it," Johnson said. "His hand didn't swell up but when he went out to throw today his hand swelled up and he couldn't throw the ball."
Vogelsong (2-4) snapped a six-start winless stretch with just his second victory of 2013 and first since April 11 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field and seemed back on track.
He walked off to warm ovation as Nick Noonan pinch hit. Vogelsong allowed three hits in five scoreless innings and lowered his ERA from 8.06 to 7.19.
"It's really a shame because tonight was the Vogey that we know, the way he threw all of last year, good stuff," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a tough one. I feel bad for him. I know he felt really good tonight. You've got to deal with these things. He'll be back, hopefully, in a couple months."
Brandon Belt hit a solo home run, matched his career best with four hits and scored three runs as San Francisco pounded a season-high 17 hits. Angel Pagan hit an RBI double and two-run single for San Francisco, also making a great leaping catch against the centre-field wall.
Andres Torres had three hits and drove in a run and Marco Scutaro added an RBI single among his two hits.
Vogelsong got the defensive gem from Pagan when the centre fielder slammed into the wall on Adam LaRoche's deep fly in the second.
The 2011 All-Star ended a six-start winless stretch in which he had lost his last two outings and gone 0-3. He was tagged for eight runs — three earned — and six hits in two innings for his shortest outing of the year last Wednesday at Toronto.
"It was awesome," Belt said. "The special thing about this team is everybody roots for everybody. We were as happy for him as can be, and it's tough to see him go down like this. But we know he'll be back, and strong and ready to go."
Javier Lopez took over for Vogelsong in the top of the sixth and received a little bit more warm up time. Three more relievers finished for the Giants' sixth shutout. San Francisco snapped a three-game skid after a 1-5 road trip through Toronto and Colorado.
The Giants have until next Tuesday before they need a fifth starter.
Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 in his return to the Nationals' lineup after last season's NL Rookie of the Year missed two games with a bruised left knee. He was hurt in a hard collision with the outfield wall a week earlier at Dodger Stadium that also caused him to need 11 stitches on his chin.
Left-hander Zach Duke (0-1) lasted just 3 1-3 innings in a spot start for Ross Detwiler, who is sidelined with back spasms. Duke allowed four runs and seven hits in his first start of the year.
Washington was shut out for the sixth time.
Vogelsong retired the first eight Nationals hitters in order.
The right-hander lasted only 2 2-3 innings in his first career start against Washington last year, allowing eight runs on nine hits with two walks.
"That's the best I've felt in a long time, from a mental aspect, physical aspect, everything felt good," he said. "It was nice to be able to get out there and have everything I've been working on for the last couple weeks kind of fall into place. From that standpoint it's a good place to start when I come back."
Scutaro extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a third-inning single. The second baseman fielded Roger Bernadina's grounder in the fifth but dropped the ball in exchange from glove to hand, for the Giants' 15th error in their last eight games.
Notes: Nationals OF Jayson Werth, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, is expected to need at least two more weeks to heal after a second MRI showed he "has some problems in there," Johnson said. "He's going to rest a bit." ... A moment of silence was held for the Oklahoma tornado victims before the national anthem. ... RHP Matt Cain (3-2) starts for the Giants in Tuesday night's middle game against righty Stephen Strasburg (2-5). ... San Francisco's Buster Posey has hit safely in 11 of his last 12. ... Belt's homer was the Giants' 21st at home. Last season through their first 23 games at AT&T Park, they had hit just six HRs.