Sikorski shuts out Yankees in debut

Thursday, August 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON – It finally hit Brian Sikorski as he was warming up. He was about to make his major league debut against the New York Yankees, the team the Rangers never beat. He was undaunted.

The 25-year-old rookie startled the world champions on Wednesday night, holding them to four hits in seven innings as the Rangers avoided a sweep with a 5-0 win before 36,446 fans at The Ballpark in Arlington. Sikorski helped end a 10-game losing streak to the Yankees that included last year's American League Division Series.

Sikorski made the most of a fluke start. He was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma only because Ryan Glynn fainted in the dugout Friday and Jonathan Johnson had to pitch in relief Tuesday. Sikorski, who was claimed on waivers from Houston last November, started the year far down on a prospect list after Glynn, Doug Davis and Johnson. He moves up for now.

"I hope I stay here for a while," said Sikorski, who manager Johnny Oates said probably would start Monday at New York. "But when Ryan returns, I'll be ready to go back down to Oklahoma."

The last 24 hours for Sikorski started with a plane flight from Las Vegas that he said "seemed like 10 minutes," an hour-long pre-game clubhouse conversation with veteran Kenny Rogers and a relaxed few minutes before the game in the Rangers' dugout. It was full speed ahead after that.

Sikorski, who sprints in and out of the dugout before and after each inning, made his most energetic dash after getting out of a difficult second-inning jam. He allowed a single to David Justice and a double to Tino Martinez to create the tough spot. He threw strikes and kept the ball down – except when he went to his rising fastball with two strikes – to ruin the Yankees' best threat.

Sikorski got ahead of Jorge Posada and Scott Brosius and got both to swing at strike three. After a walk to load the bases, he regrouped again and got the ball down at Luis Polonia's knees, forcing the Yankees left fielder into a weak grounder to first baseman Rafael Palmeiro.

"It was huge for my confidence to get out of that inning," Sikorski said. "Something seemed to get a little easier after that."

Sikorski allowed a double to Derek Jeter to start the third, and then turned into a machine. He mowed down 13 straight Yankees before he walked Posada with one out in the seventh. He was out of the game after starting the eighth by walking Jeter. Sikorski sprinted off the field for the last time to a standing ovation.

"I kind of I wish I had walked now," Sikorski said. "When I ran off the field, the crowd was so loud. To go to the top step for a curtain call was unbelievable."


Ryan Glynn is expected to resume workouts Saturday after medical reports determined that nothing is wrong with the 25-year-old right-hander's heart. ... The tentative agreement reached between the Rangers and University of North Carolina outfielder Tyrell Godwin was put on hold Wednesday after a physical examination revealed concern about his right knee. Godwin, the 35th pick overall in the June draft, will get a second look from Dr. Walt Lowe in Houston.