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Thomas puts big hurt on Mussina, Yankees

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Rouse has made a big difference for Oakland
in only two games.

The rookie second baseman followed up a stellar major league
debut with a two-run single Saturday, helping the Athletics to a
5-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

With ailing shortstop Bobby Crosby (hand) out of the lineup and
second baseman Mark Ellis on the disabled list, Rouse was called up
Friday from Triple-A Sacramento. He went 3-for-3 with a walk in his
first game, then delivered another key hit Saturday.

"When you get to the major leagues you want to make an
impression, and he's certainly doing that," A's manager Ken Macha
said. "It's been a big boost for us. He scored two runs last night
and we won by one."

Frank Thomas hit a two-run homer, Kirk Saarloos (3-4) combined
with three relievers on a six-hitter and the surging Athletics won
for the eighth time in 10 games.

"I played with Mike in college, at Cal State-Fullerton, and I
know what he can do," Saarloos said.

Thomas hit his 16th homer with two outs in the first after Mark
Kotsay opened the inning with a double off Mike Mussina (8-2).
Thomas' at-bat lasted 11 pitches.

"He was throwing all kinds of stuff -- he's crafty. It's
difficult now because he comes at you from so many different
angles," Thomas said.

Rouse added a two-run single in the fifth.

"A couple of bad pitches," Mussina said, "and a couple of bad
breaks."

Oakland converted a pair of Yankees errors into two unearned
runs. New York manager Joe Torre thought Mussina pitched a solid
game.

"He wasn't perfect, but he certainly pitched well enough where
he could have won the ballgame," Torre said.

Saarloos allowed solo homers by Jason Giambi, his 18th, in the
fourth inning and rookie Kevin Thompson, his first in the majors,
in the fifth.

New York lost its third straight. The A's (31-31) have won four
of five to move back to .500 for the first time since May 22.

Relief pitcher Brad Halsey escaped a jam of his own creation in
the seventh, when the Yankees had runners at second and third with
one out. But Johnny Damon grounded back to the mound and Derek
Jeter struck out, ending the threat.

Halsey got two outs in the eighth, and Chad Gaudin retired
Thompson on a bases-loaded grounder to preserve the lead. Huston
Street threw a perfect ninth again for his second save in two days
and 13th in 16 chances this season.

After Giambi's homer cut Oakland's lead to 2-1, second baseman
Robinson Cano bobbled Adam Melhuse's grounder for an error to start
the fifth. Marco Scutaro's double put runners at second and third
before Rouse slapped a soft single to center.

Thompson's homer made it 4-2 in the fifth, but the A's added an
unearned run off reliever Ron Villone in the eighth with the help
of an error by Giambi at first base. Dan Johnson blooped an RBI
single into short left field.

Mussina allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in six
innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

Saarloos gave up two runs and four hits in six innings with
three walks and two strikeouts. He earned his first win over the
Yankees.

Game notes
Jeter started his second consecutive game as the designated
hitter after missing three games with a bruised right thumb. ...
Thomas also homered in a 6-5 victory Friday night. ... Giambi's
homer was his second in two games and third in five games.