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Yankees lose again at home, lose hold on first

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kelvim Escobar and the Toronto Blue Jays made it
yet another frustrating night for Joe Torre's team at Yankee
Stadium.

Escobar outpitched Mike Mussina and the Blue Jays sent banged-up
New York to its fifth straight home loss, 6-2 Friday night.

"Right now, we're not too good," Torre said. "Yeah, I'm
puzzled because I know we're better than this.

"We need to do a better job of giving ourselves a chance to
win."

The Yankees are in their longest skid at home since the middle
of the 2000 season. Their ninth defeat in 10 home games dropped
them out of the AL East lead for the first time this year. They
trail Boston by a half-game.

"We're not hitting, we're not pitching, we're not catching the
ball," Mussina said. "We're not doing anything.

"As good as we were in the beginning of the season, that's how
bad we are right now," he said.

The game began about a half-hour late because of rain, and the
crowd of 34,134 had little to cheer about after Jason Giambi's RBI
double in the first inning. Escobar and the Blue Jays' bullpen kept
the fans quiet on a chilly, damp night.

"Tonight at the beginning of the game, I didn't feel very good.
But at the end, I felt stronger," Escobar said. "I always get
stronger later in the game."

The Yankees played without two of their top hitters. All-Star
center fielder Bernie Williams was placed on the 15-day disabled
list because of torn cartilage in his left knee -- he's expected to
miss four-to-six weeks -- and shortstop Derek Jeter was scratched
right before gametime with mild stiffness in his left hamstring.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was ejected after a rough slide
into shortstop Mike Bordick on a double play that ended the eighth.
Posada had just been hit by a pitch for the third time in two days,
and he raised both arms and shoved Bordick.

Second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth called Posada out for
interference, then tossed him.

"He stood up, said something to me and that was it," Culbreth

said. "I understand his frustration, but I couldn't let him say
what he did. But that was it -- he didn't have anything else to
say."

Bordick and the Blue Jays ran off the field without incident
while Torre came out to discuss the call with Culbreth.

Posada left the locker room without comment.

Bordick and Shannon Stewart each drove in two runs as Toronto
won for the eighth time in 10 road games. The Blue Jays scored in
four innings, and each one started with a leadoff walk.

Escobar (2-1), who got off to a poor start this year and was
moved from the closer's role to the rotation, earned his first
victory as a starter since he shut out Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2001.

With a fastball reaching 97 mph, Escobar gave up one run and
three hits in five innings. He was pulled after 74 pitches in his
second start of the year.

"I didn't think he was going to make it to the fifth inning,"
Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said.

Pete Walker, Tanyon Sturtze, and Jeff Tam combined for three
shutout innings of relief. Cliff Politte gave up Raul Mondesi's
home run in the ninth.

The Blue Jays began the night leading the majors in hits and
runs. Escobar felt confident his team would keep up its offensive
pace.

"You know they're going to score some runs," he said. "You
just have to go out there and stay away from the big inning."

Mussina (7-3) lost his third straight start. A victory would
have made him the top winner in the majors this season, but he
allowed seven hits and four runs in the first four innings.

Bordick, Mussina's former teammate in Baltimore, hit a two-run
single up the middle in the second. Bordick extended his hitting
streak to 13 games, tying a career high.

With two outs, Frank Catalanotto grounded an RBI single under
the glove of Jeter's substitute, Enrique Wilson.

Stewart hit an RBI single in the fourth and added a sacrifice
fly in the eighth.

Game notes
Carlos Delgado hit his 291st career double, tying the
Toronto record set by Tony Fernandez. ... Juan Rivera, promoted
from Triple-A Columbus to take Williams' roster spot, went 1-for-4.
... Walker was activated from the disabled list before the game.
... Mussina slipped to 7-1 against Toronto while pitching for the
Yankees. ... A fan ran on the field while the Yankees were warming
up for the fifth inning. The man was out there for a while before
security personnel converged on him after he neared Soriano at
second base.