James Shields returns to the place where he began his major-league career when the Kansas City Royals visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday to open a three-game set. Shields won 87 games in seven years with the Rays before being traded to the Royals after the 2012 season in a deal that included Jake Odorizzi, whom he faces in the series opener. Shields, who won his only game against the Rays in Kansas City last season, takes on a Tampa Bay team coming off a 9-2 road trip.The Rays, who had the worst record in baseball for most of June, have climbed out of the American League East cellar with a 17-8 spurt. Kansas City was 4-0-1 in its previous five road series before losing two of three this weekend at Cleveland. The slumping Billy Butler (3-for-26 in six games) and Alex Gordon (3-for-40 in 11) both were rested Sunday and look to bust out before the All-Star break.TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN (Kansas City), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH James Shields (8-4, 3.93 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.18)Shields has struggled a bit lately, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) over 19 innings while going winless in his last three outings. The 32-year-old California native has surrendered 129 hits, including 15 homers, in 116 2/3 frames while recording 92 strikeouts and 26 walks. Ryan Hanigan is 2-for-2 with a homer against Shields, who gave up two runs in seven innings to beat the Rays on April 30, 2013 in Kansas City.Odorizzi permitted two or fewer runs in four consecutive turns before yielding three in 5 2/3 innings last time out in a win over the New York Yankees. The first-round pick of Milwaukee in 2008 has struck out 101 batters in 88 1/3 frames. Odorizzi pitched three scoreless innings in his first career start against the Royals on April 9 before allowing seven runs over the next two frames, including Gordon's three-run homer.WALK-OFFS1. Kansas City has won eight of the last 10 games against the Rays, including two of three in 2014.2. Tampa Bay INF-OF Ben Zobrist has 11 hits - including four doubles - in 24 at-bats over his last five contests.3. Royals C Salvador Perez, who has a .285 batting average, 10 homers and 29 RBIs, was named a starter for the AL All-Star team on Sunday.PREDICTION: Royals 5, Rays 3