The last time Scott Carroll started a game versus the Royals, the team he grew up adoring in his adolescence offered the right-hander a steely welcome.
Carroll, a Missouri native, allowed five runs in the first and lasted just four innings of Chicago's 7-6 comeback win at Kauffman Stadium on May 19.
"I was making good pitches in the first inning -- that wasn't the thing that was the concern -- I just needed to be more efficient," Carroll said after the start. "When you're a sinkerball pitcher like I am, there's times when you're making good pitches, but they're finding holes in the infield, and it just happened to be the case."
Carroll receives a chance for redemption on Tuesday night at a different venue, when he squares off against Royals lefty Bruce Chen in the middle game at U.S. Cellular Field. The righty pitched three innings of relief against Kansas City at home on June 13, giving up a run.
Carroll enters this start on a roll, as his only two starts without allowing a run were his most recent. The righty did allow a run in three innings of relief against Kansas City at home on June 13.
On July 12, Carroll shut down Cleveland over five frames, surrendering just two hits and a walk in the White Sox's 6-2 win -- Carroll's fourth victory of the season. Before that, he surrendered zero runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on July 5.
In just two starts, Carroll lowered his ERA from 5.05 to 4.19.
Carroll's win over Cleveland was cut short after five innings and 78 pitches when an issue with his back flared up.
He's not concerned with the injury entering Tuesday.
"The back has been feeling good," Carroll said. "The All-Star break was a good time to let the body heal up and get some time off. I had some tightness with some hamstrings and just some muscular stuff that we got worked on, and I'm feeling good."
Chen makes his second start since replacing Jason Vargas in the rotation. Vargas went on the disabled list on July 10 due to an appendectomy.
Chen contained the Tigers in the Royals' 5-2 win on July 13. Detroit scored a pair of runs in the southpaw's 5 1/3 innings, and he took a no-decision.
"He only really gave up one run, the second run was a fluky run," Royals manager Ned Yost said after the start.
White Sox: Flowers streaking
Tyler Flowers' season has been marked by inconsistency, but right now, he appears locked into one of his hot streaks.
Flowers doubled in his fourth straight game on Monday, and he's 7-for-12 in that span.
Additionally, Flowers has five extra-base hits in his last seven games. He went the previous 24 games and 87 plate appearances without one.
At one point in late May, Flowers posted a robust .312/.370/.411 triple slash line. At another, he struck out 19 times in 28 plate appearances. The catcher is hitting .230/.288/.325.
Royals: Key players ailing
A day after All-Star catcher Salvador Perez was a surprise scratch in Kansas City's lineup, Eric Hosmer was sidelined on Monday while resting his bruised right hand in the club's 3-1 loss to the White Sox.
It's worth mentioning that lefty Chris Sale was on the mound, a historically brutal matchup for Hosmer, who is hitting .214 (6-for-28) with one extra-base hit and eight strikeouts against the ace.
Billy Butler made his first start of the season at first base, after seven starts last year, while Perez returned to the lineup as the designated hitter for the first time since 2012.
• The Royals are in a span of three straight series against American League Central opponents. After three games at Chicago, they go home to face Cleveland for four games and Minnesota in a three-game set.
• With a seventh-inning double on Monday, Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He's collected a hit in 29 of his last 30 games.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.