ST. LOUIS -- An eight time All-Star on the field, St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols hosted a more important All-Star event Thursday night.
For the third year in a row, the Cardinals first baseman financed and organized the Pujols Family Foundation Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, a benefit for kids and young adults with Down syndrome. Redbirds manager Tony La Russa and Skip Schumaker, along with plenty of former Cardinals players, helped coach the All-Stars on a night when everyone came out a winner.
"Inspiring," La Russa said. "The kids are unbelievable how terrific they are.
"It is worth seeing. The kids go up there, and they point [to center field]; a couple hit 'em out. It is truly great."
Parents and All-Stars were treated to a special guest when 89-year-old Stan Musial showed up to throw out the first pitch. With an assist from Pujols out on the mound, The Man got the night started with a burst of excitement.
"That is pretty powerful," La Russa said. "It shows, from his part, I think, a respect for Albert."
La Russa relishes facing former club
ST. LOUIS -- Although this represents the second go-around against the Oakland Athletics for the Cardinals Interleague history, Cardinals manager said on Friday night that it was nonetheless special to face his former team for the third time in his career.
La Russa and the Cardinals took two of three games from the A's in 2007, and with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright taking the hill back-to-back, they are hopeful for a repeat performance.
"There will always be something special there," La Russa said of facing Oakland. "A lot of good memories there."
Spending 10 years in Oakland, La Russa compiled a .542 winning percentage along with three American League pennants and one World Series trophy. La Russa has a .544 winning percentage in 15 years with St. Louis along with two National League pennants and his second World Series victory.
Miller returns to mound for Quad Cities
Triple-A Memphis postponed a doubleheader with Nashville Thursday due to rain. ... The Double-A Springfield Cardinals went homer happy, blasting a trio of three-run jacks in a 12-9 victory over Northwest Arkansas. Tyler Henley, Daryl Jones and Aaron Luna accounted for the long balls. Five different players finished the game with multiple hits for the Cardinals. ... The Class A Palm Beach Cardinals had the day off Thursday. ... Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' 2009 first-round pick, took the mound for Class A Quad Cities and tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Miller is 1-3 this season with a 4.79 ERA. Matt Adams was the lone River Bandit with multiple hits, picking up two singles in the game.
There is still no date set for when Brad Penny will attempt to throw off a mound, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa confirmed on Friday. "I think he is still taking steps to get there," La Russa said. Penny played catch on Friday before batting practice and said "no pain" when asked how he was feeling. Penny has been sidelined since May 21 with a strained lat muscle. ... After five hits against the Mariners in the previous series, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols possesses the highest batting average in Interleague history, hitting .351 against the American League. ... Outfielder Nick Stavinoha leads the Majors with 10 pinch-hits this season, batting .323 in 31 at-bats off the bench.
Michael Bleach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.