The Minnesota Twins pounced on Yankees' starter A.J. Burnett's struggles for seven early runs and cruised to an easy 9-4 win over New York on Saturday.

Despite the loss, New York remained a half-game ahead of Boston in the American League East, as the Red Sox lost 9-4 to the Kansas City Royals.

It's kind of a long, overdue feeling, Twins' third baseman Danny Valencia, who hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning, told reporters.

We've played these guys tough, but at the same time we've come up empty-handed a bunch. So it's nice to come out and win, and win kind of big.

Already trailing 4-0 in the second inning, Burnett loaded the bases with successive walks which prompted Yankees manager Joe Girardi to replace his starter, who appeared to voice his displeasure as he left the mound.

I was not talking to Joe, absolutely not, said Burnett, who indicated his displeasure was directed toward the umpire's call on his final pitch.

No matter how mad I get, that guy's taken my back every day I've been here.

Girardi supported his pitcher.

Everyone always seems to want to blow up about A.J., Girardi told reporters.

Nothing happened between me and A.J. I went and looked at the pitch. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of people looking for something between me and A.J.

Reliever Luis Ayala was unable to slow the Twins as all three base runners left by Burnett scored and stretched the lead to 7-0.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano allowed one run on three hits while striking out six in seven innings, before giving way to the bullpen, who allowed three runs in the final two innings.