Yankees Lose Sixth Straight At Home

Lately nothing seems to be going right for the New York Yankees. For the third straight day the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Bombers, this time by a score of 5-2. David Wells, who normally pitches exceedingly well at The Stadium, was tagged for five runs and Cory Lidle held the Yankees down for eight innings as the Blue Jays sent the Yankees to their sixth straight home loss.

The uniforms may be the same, but these are not the same Yankees that started the 2003 season by running up an 18-3 record. Bernie Williams and Nick Johnson are on the disabled list, Steve Karsay is out for the season and Jorge Posada did not start on Saturday after being hit by pitches three times in the last two games.

Normally, the Yankees' potent lineup and pitching staff could handle a few losses, but even the healthy players aren't playing well. The only member of the Yankees lineup with more than one hit on Saturday was Alfonso Soriano, who had three. But the young second baseman can't carry the team alone, and it is starting to show.

In each of the last two games that the Yankees faced Lidle this season, they pounded him for five runs. This time, Lidle stifled their bats, allowing just two runs on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out three. Lidle, now 8-2 on the season, has won his last seven decisions and leads the majors in victories.

Wells stuck to his usual routine by not walking a batter, but the lefty allowed nine hits over just five innings. Seven of the hits were doubles. Wells was knocked out of the game in the sixth inning when he allowed four consecutive doubles and a single to start off the frame. Wells lost for just the second time this season, dropping his record to 6-2. He allowed five runs in five innings and struck out three.

Lidle was finally lifted in the bottom of the ninth inning after allowing a leadoff triple to Derek Jeter. Cliff Politte relieved him and notched his seventh save of the season, walking a batter and striking out one in the ninth. Politte replaced Friday's starter, Kelvim Escobar, as the team's closer earlier in the season.

The lone bright spot of the game for the Yankees was the performance of Jose Contreras. Contreras, who entered the game with a 13.50 ERA, pitched four innings in relief of Wells, allowing just one hit and one walk while fanning four. The outing, easily the best of his young career, lowered his ERA to a career-low 8.74.

Sunday is the final game of the four-game set between these two teams. Should the Blue Jays win, it will be the second time this season that the Yankees have been swept at home, and the first time that Toronto has ever swept the Yankees in a four-game series.

Jeff Weaver (3-2, 5.15) will try and prevent that dubious distinction from being realized as he takes the mound for the Yankees. Doug Davis (1-3, 6.43) will pitch for Toronto.

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