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YANKEES 2, ATHLETICS 1

Yankees safe at home

Mussina sparks win over Oakland

NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina stood in his locker and very calmly stressed the importance of the New York Yankees' 10-game homestand that takes them up to the All-Star break.

"It's as important for us now to play well here leading into the break as anything we've done all season," he said.

Mussina did his part last night, pitching seven sharp innings to help the Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics, 2-1, for their first win in a week.

Alex Rodriguez had three hits for New York, which was coming off a disastrous 1-7 road trip. New York has won nine of its last 10 games at Yankee Stadium.

Manager Joe Torre also picked up win No. 2,010 to move one ahead of Leo Durocher for ninth on the career list. He appeared ready to pass Durocher Thursday night with New York leading Baltimore, 8-6, in the eighth but the game was suspended because of rain.

"I was hoping this would have happened earlier this year," Torre said with a smile. "Anytime you start passing guys like that it certainly leaves an impression. When I think of when I started here 12 years ago, this certainly wasn't on the top of my list."

Shannon Stewart went 3 for 3 and Eric Chavez doubled and scored for Oakland, which has lost seven of eight and 13 of 17.

Mussina (4-5) allowed one run and six hits to stop a personal two-game losing streak. He struck out three and walked one.

Kyle Farnsworth came in to pitch the eighth and gave up one-out singles to Stewart and Mark Kotsay. He then struck out Nick Swisher before Torre replaced him with Mariano Rivera. Farnsworth threw his glove against the dugout wall and slammed his hat down after departing.

"He was upset but he has to understand it shouldn't be an embarrassment when you bring Mariano Rivera in [from] the bullpen," Torre said.

Rivera struck out Jack Cust to get out of the eighth then pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances. It also was career save No. 423 .

"We hit the ball well enough, we pitched well enough, we played well enough to win tonight," A's manager Bob Geren said. "We just didn't. We needed a few breaks and tonight we didn't get them."

The Yankees backed Mussina with several strong defensive plays. Derek Jeter robbed Bobby Crosby of a hit to begin the third, grabbing his grounder deep in the hole at shortstop before making a leaping throw to a stretching Andy Phillips at first for the out.

Jason Kendall and Stewart followed Jeter's play with back-to-back singles but Mussina got Kotsay and Swisher to fly out to end the inning.

Second baseman Robinson Cano made a nice stop on Mark Ellis's grounder to start an inning-ending double play in the fourth, and Crosby lost another hit in the fifth when Bobby Abreu jumped at the warning track to catch his fly ball to right.

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