NEW YORK — Derek Jeter sat in the dugout with his hand on his chin watching the Boston Red Sox celebrate a win over the New York Yankees.

The same pose Jeter had when the past two seasons ended without titles is becoming an all-too-familiar one lately.

The Yankees lost their fifth straight game Monday, falling further behind Boston in the AL East with an 8-4 loss.

Roger Clemens was battered around as he failed in his first try for his 300th win, the hitters couldn't come through in key spots and the Yankees were sloppy in the field with two errors.

"We're not hitting, we're not pitching, we're not playing defense, we're not running the bases," Jeter said. "When you don't do those things, you're going to lose."

The skid is New York's longest since dropping seven straight late in 2000. The Yankees have also lost 12 of 15 for the first time since that year.

Those Yankees, with Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius, recovered to win their third straight World Series. But Jeter, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams are the only regulars remaining from that team.

"It's different people," Jeter said. "It's still the Yankees, but it's different personnel.

"This team is trying to build a history. Those teams had done it before."

Jeter's comments are similar to ones he made during last year's postseason, when the Yankees were eliminated in the first round by Anaheim.

Jeter said these are not criticisms of his newer teammates, just facts that many of the leaders of the champion teams have moved on.

"It doesn't mean this group can't be successful," he said. "I have a lot of confidence with this team. But when people say we've been through it before it wasn't with this team and these players."

The Yankees have particularly struggled at home, losing eight straight for the first time since a 10-game skid in 1986, which included one loss to Clemens when he pitched for the Red Sox.

New York has dropped 12 of 13 at home for the first time in franchise history and has begun to hear boos from the fans.

"It's very difficult for me," second baseman Alfonso Soriano said. "I've been here on the Yankees for three years now. I've never seen anything like this, losing so many games at home."

The recent skid has dropped the Yankees a season-high 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and assured Boston of leaving New York in first place later this week.

That's sure to draw the ire of unusually quiet owner George Steinbrenner, who came to town to watch Clemens' bid for history.

"I don't think we're eliminated from the race yet," Clemens said. "But we need to play better."

After falling behind 5-0, the Yankees battled back with three runs in the fourth against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield — snapping a string of 55 innings at home without scoring more than one run.

Wakefield then walked three straight hitters with one out in the fifth. The bases were loaded, the crowd was juiced and the Yankees looked poised to break out of their slump.

Raul Mondesi then hit a hard grounder to shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who started an inning-ending double play to thwart New York's best chance for a comeback.

"That took some of the wind out of our sails," designated hitter Todd Zeile said. "That was certainly a big moment because we had a chance coming off a good inning to get Roger back into it or even in the lead. It was a bit deflating."

The Yankees had only one hit the rest of the way, Soriano's high pop that fell between three fielders in shallow right field for a single.

New York has scored just 22 runs in the eight-game skid. Soriano said he thinks individuals are trying too hard to get the team out of its slump.

"Right now, their confidence isn't as big as you'd like it, or the way it was early when we were blowing people away," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

The pitching has been just as bad as the hitting for the Yankees. The starting pitchers began the season 16-0 but none of the five could make it past the sixth inning during the five-game skid in which they all lost once.

The starters' ERA the past five games is 9.95, raising it from 3.50 to 3.98 for the season.

"You just keep shaking your head and wonder when it will stop," Posada said.