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NEW YORK (AP) — On the morning of June 7, the Toronto Blue Jays were 38-24 and led the AL East by six games. Since then they've sputtered to a 39-51 record and have little chance to end their two-decade-plus postseason drought.
The faded Blue Jays tied their longest losing streak of the season at five games Thursday night, losing to the New York Yankees 3-2 when first baseman Adam Lind allowed Chase Headley's two-hop grounder in the ninth inning to bounce under his glove and through his legs for a game-ending error.
"It happened so fast. Basically, I didn't make the play," Lind said. "I thought I was focused on the ball. He hit it pretty hard, almost right at me."
New York (78-74) moved ahead of Toronto (77-75) for sole possession of second place in the AL East, and the Blue Jays are six games back in the wild card race with 10 games left. Toronto hasn't made the playoffs since winning consecutive World Series titles in 1992 and '93. The hope of spring has long since evaporated.
"It's disappointing for everybody. There's no way around that," said R.A. Dickey, who stretched his scoreless streak against the Yankees to 19 innings before allowing Stephen Drew's RBI double in the fifth and Derek Jeter's home run in the sixth. "We've been a streaky team all year, both bad and good, and right now we're in the middle of a bad streak."
Toronto tied the score in the eighth when Jose Reyes singled with two outs and Jose Bautista homered off Shawn Kelley on an 0-2 pitch, slamming his bat as he neared first base. Bautista homered in his fourth straight game against the Yankees and has hit seven of his 33 homers this year against New York.
"Any time you come back late and tie it up, you've got a good feeling," Toronto manager John Gibbons said, "but we've been having trouble scoring runs."
The Blue Jays went on to lose for the 18th time in their last 20 games at Yankee Stadium. Not the season Gibbons was hoping for in the second season of his second stint as Toronto manager.
"It's frustrating, but in this game the best teams go and the ones that aren't good enough, they don't go. It's that simple," Gibbons said.
After David Robertson (3-6) pitched a perfect ninth, Chris Young singled off Aaron Sanchez (2-2) leading off the bottom half. Speedy pinch-runner Antoan Richardson stole second, Brett Gardner sacrificed him to third on a 3-2 pitch and, with the infield in, Headley hit the bouncer to Lind.
"Defense matters in this game," Gibbons said. "Then they put a guy on there that could fly. It's a tough way to lose a game. No doubt. They're all tough."
Toronto starting pitchers have gone six innings or more in a team-record 24 consecutive games, five more than the previous mark in 1998.
Blue Jays: C Dioner Navarro pinch-hit and stayed in after missing Wednesday's game because of dizziness. He was hit on the mask by a foul tip Tuesday.
LHP Mark Buehrle (12-9) starts the second game of the series Friday against Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-9).
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