Here was Royals right-hander Wade Davis perhaps when he needed it most producing his best effort of the season Saturday in outdueling Chicago lefty Chris Sale in a 1-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

Davis might have been pitching to hold his spot in the rotation after yielding 21 runs in 152/3 innings over his four previous starts. If so he responded magnificently.

“If anything it was the exact opposite of urgency” he said. “It was really (a matter of) stepping back relaxing and taking it easy. Just step back and slow things down.”

Whatever it was Davis needed every bit of it because Sale was in top form while pitching a complete game. But Sale 6-10 permitted one run and that was enough to continue his luckless season.

Davis 5-9 got a big boost from center fielder Lorenzo Cain who for the second straight game put on a defensive show with several sprinting catches.

Cain also drove in the game’s only run on an RBI double in the sixth before exiting in the eighth because of tightness in his left groin. Jarrod Dyson went to center to start the bottom of the inning.

And really all of that was mere prelude to the wild momentum swings in a wacky Chicago ninth inning after the Royals called on Greg Holland to close out their fifth straight victory.

Holland put himself in a big jam before Houdini-ing his way clear with the help of a game-saving catch by right fielder David Lough and some suspect base-running by Alex Rios.

“All closers make things interesting” manager Ned Yost said. “The thing (Holland) does so well and he did it tonight is he holds the fort.”

Holland started the inning by yielding a single to Rios on a grounder through the right side. Adam Dunn then worked back from a 1-2 hole for a walk that put the winning run on base with no outs.

The Royals then settled for one out — a force at second — on Paul Konerko’s grounder to short. Dunn went in hard (and clean) at second which disrupted Chris Getz’s throw to first.

Eric Hosmer came off the base to prevent an error.

With Rios at third the White Sox sent Casper Wells in to run for Konerko at first base. And here the inning — and the game — turned decisively in the Royals’ favor.

Jeff Keppinger sent a sinking liner into right field that initially seemed certain to fall in front of Lough who was playing deeper than normal in a no-doubles defensive alignment.

But Lough charged in and chose to make a diving attempt.

“I thought I had a chance for it” he said “so I went for it. That’s one of those plays where it’s all or nothing. That’s what I wanted to do and I was able to make a good catch.”

Had Rios been positioned to tag he likely could have scored even though Lough bounced quickly to his feet. Then again … had Rios remained at third Lough was positioned for a play at the plate if he played the ball on a hop.

“To tell you the truth” Rios said “I don’t think there’s much I could have done. That was a (heck) of a play and even if I tagged up I don’t think I had a chance at home. It’s a tough play for us.”

Holland had in his mind already conceded the tie.

“(Lough) made an unbelievable catch and saved the game for us” he said. “We got pretty lucky there. Lough made a great play and they weren’t able to tag for whatever reason. And we ended up getting out of it.”