After leaving the field, Torre lit into his team in the clubhouse, upset not with the loss, but the effort -- or lack thereof -- that he saw from his players. It was the sixth team meeting over the first 60 games of the season, the fifth called by Torre.
"We were too nonchalant," Torre said. "I was very surprised that we let them run us off the field. Normally, I try to find the most positive thing I can find, but I can't find one."
"This is certainly rock bottom for this team," said Alex Rodriguez. "Not just because we lost, but the fashion in which we played. It's very embarrassing."
Several players, including Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi, said it was as upset as they have ever seen Torre, who is typically the portrait of calm.
"He's not happy. What do you expect? He should be saying things like that," said Jeter, who was also more animated than usual after the game. "It comes to a point where you have to look in the mirror and do your job. He can only say so much. You can talk until you're blue in the face, but we have to play on the field."
"Tonight, we should have gotten blasted. We didn't play well," Giambi said. "Nobody likes to see 'Skip' unhappy. He let us have it, as he should have."
St. Louis struck for two runs in the first, using three hits and a throwing error by starter Chien-Ming Wang to take a 2-0 lead. But it was the third inning that took the Yankees out of the game -- and caused Torre to question the effort of his team.
"It seems like we get down a couple of runs, people start hanging their heads and here we go," Jeter said.
The inning included errors by Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, a passed ball by Jorge Posada and a needless throw to third base by Gary Sheffield on a single, which allowed a runner to advance from first to second, all of which led to five Cardinals runs and a 7-0 deficit.
"There's no excuse for it," Torre said. "We're paid to go out there and play the game. We short-changed everybody tonight."
"We're going through the motions," Jeter said. "That's what it looks like. That's the bottom line. We have no intensity out there. It's unacceptable."
The game was essentially over after the third, as each team plated one run over the final six innings. The performance ranks among the sloppiest of Torre's 10-year run in New York, and he took responsibility for the team's play at the end of the night.
"It's not the pitching coach's fault, it's not the hitting coach's fault, it's my fault," Torre said. "My job is to motivate and get the guys ready to play. They certainly didn't seem ready to play tonight."
"You win as a team and lose as a team. Everybody takes responsibility for it, but ultimately, it falls on me," the manager added. "That's my job; [it's] what I'm here for. I'm in charge of this thing, so I have to find a way to make it better."
While Torre put the onus on himself, his players made it clear that there is only so much a manager can do.
"He's not responsible at all. He writes the lineup. That's it," Jeter said. "He can't walk to the plate for us, can't catch ground balls or pitch for us. He's doing everything that he can possibly do. Now, it's up to us."
"He's the most supportive manager I've ever played for," said A-Rod. "When he tells you that [you're not doing your job], you have to look in the mirror, dig deep inside to make sure that's not true. That's the last person I ever want to let down."
With 102 games to go, the Yankees have enough time to turn things around. The question now is: Do they have what it takes to do it?
"I'm really embarrassed; I'm really frustrated," said Posada. "We're a team that's better than that, but we're not performing the way we're capable. What are we going to do next? We have to dig deep inside and find a way to turn this around."
"Each player has to look inside their own soul, look in the mirror and see what we can do better," A-Rod said. "We're so much better than what we're playing right now."