Despite repeatedly throwing at Alex Rodriguez in an obvious attempt to bean the Yankees slugger, Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster avoided on-field punishment in an incident Sunday night that left Joe Girardi ejected, the Boston bullpen looking for a fight, and the Yankees banned from retaliation.

It took Dempster four pitches to finally hit A-Rod, and after home plate umpire Brian O'Nora elected to "warn both benches" but not eject Boston's starting pitcher Girardi erupted in screams that quickly got himself tossed. Meanwhile, the Red Sox bullpen rushed onto the field toward Alex Rodriguez for reasons that remain unclear; it doesn't appear any Yankees other than Girardi even left the dugout, so perhaps they all wanted to fight A-Rod?

ESPN analysts, of course, got into the thick moralizing quickly, while later pandering to retaliation fantasies. [ESPN]