This was a story of the starters. This game showed how great Francisco Liriano can be when he’s on, and how bad we all know AJ Burnett can be when he doesn’t have control.

Liriano earned his ninth win of the season, bringing his personal record back up to .500.  He pitched seven innings, giving up three hits and only one earned run. His best outing since July 9th when he also went seven innings and gave up two runs in a win against Oakland.

Burnett continued his season long struggles. His inability to locate his fastball was apparent in this game. Burnett gave up hard hit, after hard hit which ended his night early.  He only made it through 1.2 innings, throwing over 60 pitches, walking 3 batters, with seven earned runs, and throwing his 16th and 17th wild pitches of the year.

In the first inning, after getting his first batter out, Burnett gave up two straight doubles to right fielder Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer.  In the following at bat against Justin Morneau, Burnett threw a wild pitch which allowed Plouffe to score. Morneau then added another run, hitting a sac fly scoring Mauer, giving the Twins an early 2-0 lead.

They weren’t done there. Twins’ third baseman, Danny Valencia took Burnett’s first pitch of the second inning 401 ft, over the fence and into the bullpen.  Burnett continued his struggles in the second inning.  With two outs and a man on third, Burnett gave up an RBI single to center fielder Ben Revere.  Two walks later Burnett was pulled with the bases loaded.

Luis Ayala entered the game to get the final out in the second. He couldn’t slow the Twins’ roll either. Ayala walked Morneau to score Revere.  Jason Kubel stepped into the batters box next and slapped a single into right field. That scored Plouffe and Mauer, giving the Twins a 7-0 lead after two innings.

The Yankees ended Liriano’s shutout bid in the third inning. Eduardo Nunez, with one out, reached on a double, and was batted in by a Brett Gardner single trimming the Twins’ lead to 7-1. Liriano got right back on track setting down another two batters as the Yankees stranded two men in the third.

Ayala pitched a solid third and was relived in the fourth by Aaron Laffey. Ayala lasted 1.1 innings allowing two hits, and was not charged with a single run.  Laffey pitched quickly through the fourth, keeping the Twins quiet. However, they couldn’t be held off for long. Laffey started the fifth by loading up the bases with no outs, and walking in a run.  Later in the inning, he let up another RBI to Revere, giving the Twins a 9-1 lead after five innings.

Laffey finished a solid sixth inning before being relieved by Corey Wade. Laffey finished the game with three innings pitched, five hits and two earned runs. The combination of Wade and Hector Noesi was able too keep the Twins from scoring any runs for the remainder of the game. They combined to pitch two innings, giving up only 2 hits and no runs.

Alex Burnett came into the game for Liriano in the eighth inning.  With one out and men on second and third, Curtis Granderson came up to bat.  He hit a hard grounder to second baseman Luke Hughes playing in the outfield grass. That scored Gardner from third, giving Granderson his MLB leading 97th RBI of the season and giving the Yankees their second run of the night. Francisco Cervelli, who entered the game in the seventh inning, was able to contribute to the Yankee offense driving home Jorge Posada with a single, shrinking the lead to 9-3.

Matt Capps would come out in the ninth inning to finish off the Yankees.  He was able to set down three batters, but not before giving up a solo shot to Andruw Jones.  Capps did hold on to the lead, giving the Twins a 9-4 win.  With the Red sox also losing, 9-4 to the Royals, the Yankees remain up half a game in the AL East.

The Yankees face the Twins again tomorrow to end this four-game series. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:10pm, pre-game at 1:30pm.  You can catch all your New York Yankees action on 104.5 “The Team” ESPN radio!