Upon finishing his workout, Carroll and pitching coach Don Cooper sat in the White Sox dugout at U.S. Cellular Field and had an important talk.
"It was just very encouraging and that's one thing he showed, all the support," said Carroll, following the first start of his big league career in which he did not allow a run. "He said they have all the confidence in me and keep showing improvements with what we are trying to have you do. That gave me some encouragement and some confidence to go into this start."
Carroll had allowed 12 earned runs on 19 hits over 11 innings since his return to the rotation on June 26, but yielded just an A.J. Pierzynski single over 6 2/3 innings against the Red Sox (39-50). Carroll struck out five and walked two, recording 13 outs via ground balls and allowing only one baserunner to reach second base, after Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Being aggressive in the strike zone was important to the rookie, who reveled in his first start and first win at historic Fenway, as well as getting his cutters into left-handers.
"From the very beginning, even the first batter, I could tell that my ball was going to be low and I was able to make pitches," Carroll said. "I really wanted to work on rhythm from the windup. I worked on that in my bullpen. Better rhythm and tempo. It's something I translated into the game tonight."
"He was around the zone, got a lot of ground balls," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "When he really has his sinker going, guys are going to beat it into the ground. Made for a lot of work for the infield, which is great."
Offensive production for the White Sox (43-47) wasn't much more consistent against Clay Buchholz (3-5), but the use of the long ball made it strong enough. Adam Dunn went deep to lead off the second, giving him 13 homers on the season, 453 for his career and sole possession of 35th place on the all-time list above Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski.
Dunn started a three-run fourth inning with two outs by doubling off the Green Monster, followed by a Buchholz walk to Alexei Ramirez.
Dayan Viciedo then worked an 0-2 count to 3-2 and lined a three-run blast into the right-center-field stands. Viciedo has five homers and 11 RBIs in his last 10 games, while the White Sox have 14 homers over their last 10 games and 27 multi-homer efforts as a team. They have a 21-6 record when hitting more than one homer.
"I can't walk Alexei right there," Buchholz said. "If he hits a homer there, he hits a homer. That's the first walk I've given up in a couple starts and it seems like they always score. Gotta stay away from walks."
"Baseball is cruel," Ventura said. "[Buchholz] made a couple of mistakes, Dunner's and Tank's. There is a lot of good stuff he did and he ends up paying for the ones you don't."
Hector Noesi and Carroll (3-5), the fourth and fifth starters in the White Sox rotation, kick-started back-to-back shutouts against the Mariners and the Red Sox. The last time the White Sox posted consecutive shutouts came on the last game of 2012 in a 9-0 victory at Cleveland and the first game of 2013 in a 1-0 victory over the Royals at home. The last time it took place in the same season was Sept 5-6, 2011, at Minnesota.
Meanwhile Carroll became the third White Sox pitcher in the last 100 years to throw at least six scoreless innings while allowing one or no hits within his first eight career starts. Prior to the opener of this seven-game, first-half-ending road trip, Ventura was asked what he wanted from Carroll in this mound effort.
His response was the same as it was postgame and could be a mantra for this young team trying to find a consistent winning streak.
"Just do better. That was it," Ventura said. "I think he understands where he's at. He came out, was focused and he did it."
"Offensively, we're not putting up huge numbers, but we're still getting wins," said Dunn of his team that has won seven of 10. "That's the name of the game right now."