TORONTO (AP)—It’s gotten so bad for the New York Yankees that opponents are stealing home on them.
“It seems like we’re losing every way possible and tonight was no different,” Johnny Damon said.
The Yankees (21-29) have lost five straight and 13 of 18 to fall eight games under .500 for the first time since they were 11-19 on May 6, 2005, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“You can envision us struggling, just not this long,” Derek Jeter said. “Every team scuffles at times but we’ve been scuffling for a long time now.”
Boston’s 4-2 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday dropped the Yankees a season-high 14 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
“It’s certainly not getting any easier for us,” manager Joe Torre said. “We just have to keep plugging. It’s a mountain to climb right now.”
Proctor threw his glove in the dugout after getting the final out of the inning.
Pettitte (3-4) allowed three runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
“He’s not getting any support from us right now and neither are any of our other pitchers,” Damon said.
Jeremy Accardo (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win.
Hill’s steal in the seventh gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Singles by Frank Thomas and Hill put runners at first and second with one out. Jason Phillips then grounded to third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who stepped on the bag to force out Thomas. Rodriguez threw to first to try to retire Phillips, who collided with Josh Phelps as the throw arrived, knocking the ball loose and allowing Hill to advance to third.
With the count 1-1 to Royce Clayton, Hill took a walking lead, then broke for the plate. Facing away, Pettitte didn’t notice until catcher Jorge Posada stepped out and waved his right arm. Pettitte threw home but Hill slid in safely ahead of the tag.
“I saw him running right away,” Posada said. “I stood up and was screaming but obviously the fans were screaming too.”
Pettitte said he hesitated for a split second because he thought the umpire had called a balk.
“I didn’t feel like I hesitated for that long for a guy to be able to steal home on me,” Pettitte said. “He must have been a way off third base. Unless I’m losing my mind, I thought the umpire threw his hands up in the air, too. I’m not real sure.
“To be out of the stretch, what can you say? That’s embarrassing.”
Hill said third base coach Brian Butterfield told the Blue Jays before the game that Pettitte was vulnerable to a steal of home.
“I definitely felt my heart beating,” Hill said. “I’ve never done it before and I didn’t know what was going to happen. I just pictured the umpire calling me safe to hopefully give me a little better boost.”
It was Toronto’s first steal of home since Shea Hillenbrand did it Aug. 6, 2005, against the Yankees.
“I didn’t think you could lose an American League ballgame like that,” Pettitte said. “Every little thing is costing us games and we’re not doing a whole lot to get it done.”
New York went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and is 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position in its past two games.
“We’re just not swinging the bats,” Jeter said. “We sprinkle hits here and there but we’re just not getting the job done.”
Torre said the losing streak has left his team feeling tense.
“Everybody seems to want to do it themselves and you can’t do it that way,” Torre said. “We need to have a game where we can have a little fun. We haven’t been able to do that and it’s based on the fact that we seem to keep fighting uphill all the time.”
Jeter reached on Toronto right-hander Casey Janssen’s error in the eighth and scored on Posada’s one-out single to tie it. New York had runners at first and second with one out but Accardo struck out Jason Giambi and got Bobby Abreu to ground out to first.
Shaun Marcum struck out six in six shutout innings for the Blue Jays. He allowed two hits and walked three.
Giambi led off the seventh with a home run off Scott Downs to tie it at 1.
Hill’s stolen base was his third of the season. … The teams combined for five errors, three by Toronto. … Blue Jays 3B Troy Glaus was scratched from the starting lineup with a tight hamstring, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. … Kei Igawa, one of the Yankees’ top offseason acquisitions, was the loser for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Tuesday. Igawa allowed four runs and eight hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked one.