Andy Pettitte did his part but was outdueled by R.A. Dickey in a 2-0 Blue Jays win before a crowd of 24,894 at Rogers Centre.
"We're playing terrible and it's not good. It's a bad time to be doing it," said a clearly frustrated Pettitte. "We put ourselves in a horrible position. Obviously we can't have too many more losses."
After getting swept by the Red Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend, the Yankees -- with the exception of Pettitte -- were flat versus the last-place Blue Jays. New York had trouble mounting any sort of a rally off Dickey, and two Blue Jays relievers -- including Casey Janssen, who saved his 31st game of the season --finished things off to hand the Yankees their 10th shutout of the season.
While manager Joe Girardi insists effort isn't the issue, Pettitte said the team needs to be playing with more urgency.
"If there's not, you're playing the wrong sport and you're definitely in the wrong organization," said Pettitte, who lost for just the second time in his last 10 starts against the Blue Jays. "We just have to find a way to get a win."
Pettitte, who lost for the first time since Aug. 5, a span of eight starts, was sharp and worked his way out of multiple jams to earn his seventh quality start of the season. He logged 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits while walking two and striking out five.
The only run the left-hander surrendered was a towering second-deck homer to Colby Rasmus in the fourth inning. Rasmus' solo shot was his 21st home run of the season and marked the third consecutive game he has gone deep.
Pettitte said he was trying to bounce a cutter at the front of the plate and get Rasmus to chase something after Toronto's center fielder worked the count to 2-2. But Pettitte got too much of the plate and Rasmus made him pay for it.
"I made a terrible mistake to Rasmus and it cost us the ballgame," Pettitte said. "Stupid, just a bad thought process."
Pettitte exited the contest with two outs in the seventh after throwing a season-high 110 pitches -- 75 for strikes -- in favor of right-hander Shawn Kelley.
"You can't ask for any more," Girardi said. "He was out there on fumes in the seventh."
Rajai Davis greeted Kelley by drilling a 1-0 offering over the fence in left for his sixth homer of the season to put the Blue Jays ahead, 2-0.
New York's bats were stifled by Dickey, who threw seven scoreless innings before turning the ball over to Sergio Santos in the eighth.
The Yankees put one on with one out for Alex Rodriguez in the eighth, but Santos retired him on strikes before getting Robinson Cano to hit into an inning-ending groundout. In the ninth, Lyle Overbay hit a one-out single before Janssen struck out the next two batters to end the contest.
"We can't lose much more," Girardi said.
After allowing back-to-back, two-outs hits in the first, Dickey settled in and was in control for the remainder of the game. He struck out the side in the third inning and finished the game with eight punchouts, while walking two. It marked the first game Dickey hasn't allowed a run since throwing a shutout against the Rays on June 26.
Curtis Granderson said Dickey's knuckleball was "dancing all over the place" and that the right-hander can "make it do some crazy things." Dickey mixed in hard and slow knucklers, some fastballs and even lowered his arm angle to strike out Rodriguez with a sidearm pitch in the fifth.
Chris Stewart said Dickey was throwing a hard knuckleball all night.
"It was probably the latest action I've had on it, here in particular," said Dickey, who has gone at least six innings in 16 of his last 17 starts. "Tonight, and in recent outings in particular, my hard one has had some depth right at the plate and guys are just getting the top of it."
The Yankees fell to 3-5 on their 10-game road trip, and 13-4 against the Blue Jays this season.