It was the kind of pitchers' duel where it was too bad someone had to lose.
One run was all Kansas City Royals right-hander Wade Davis had to work with while hard-luck Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale had more limited offensive help in the Royals 1-0 victory on Saturday night.
"That's as good a ballgame as (Davis) has pitched all year long," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His stuff was tremendous and Chris Sale was a tough as nails tonight. He was right there with him. (Davis) never got into any type of major jams and stuff was tremendous, banging strikes and had good action on his fastball."
Davis allowed four hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings on a crisp, fall-like night that featured game-time temperatures in the upper 50s.
Lorenzo Cain drove in what proved to be the winning run in the sixth inning as the Royals claimed their second win in the three-game weekend series.
Davis (5-9) broke a four-start losing streak as he struck out four and walked three.
"I got ahead of a lot more guys tonight," he said. "I got some early swings that helped me get deeper into the ballgame too and the defense was pretty good tonight."
Davis departed in the eighth in favor of right-handed reliever Louis Coleman after giving up a one-out single to Alejandro De Aza. Kansas City then survived a scary ninth as reliever Greg Holland had runners on first and third with one out but escaped for his 26th save.
Right fielder David Lough made a game-saving, diving catch for the second out and quickly scrambled up to prevent Alex Rios from scoring the potential tying run from third.
Sale (6-10) worked his first nine-inning game since May 12. He gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out seven in his fourth loss in his last five starts.
"He pitched great tonight," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "There's no questions about it. You can't be perfect, but he's pretty dang close. On the other side, you hit some balls pretty good and they made some a lot of plays tonight."
Sale had his fewest runs allowed since early June but also had no run support for the fifth time this season.
"That's kind of way the ball falls sometimes," Sale said. "It's tough, yeah. But at the end of the day you've got to stay on it and keep your head up."
The White Sox (40-61) fell 21 games below .500 for the first times since Sept. 25, 2007.
Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler each singled in the top of the sixth and Cain broke the scoreless tie with his double down the third base line, scoring Hosmer with one out.
The White Sox threatened in the sixth. De Aza singled and reached third when Adam Dunn was hit by a throw on the way to first base with two out. Paul Konerko then lined a long fly to center, hauled in by a sprinting Cain on the warning track.
Cain made another running catch in the seventh, hitting the wall while pulling in Jeff Keppinger's long fly. He later left the game as a precautionary measure with left groin tightness. Yost said he expects Cain to be fine.
NOTES: Royals RHP James Shields' victory on Friday was his first over the White Sox since a 2-1 decision on April 19, 2011, while with Tampa Bay. ... After Sunday's series finale, the Royals have seven more games with the White Sox, including a three games in Kansas City in August and four in Chicago in last September. ... DH Billy Butler entered the game two RBI short of tying Joe Randa for seventh on the Royals' career list (533). ... The Royals said no eligible player on the team's Hall of Fame ballot reached the 75 percent threshold for induction this year. Bo Jackson and John Wathan led balloting with 32.5 percent. ... Dunn's first-inning strikeout was his team-leading 117th of the season to tie for fourth in the American League. He walked in the fourth and ninth and tops the team with 52. ... DH Konerko still needs two home runs to tie Cal Ripken Jr. for 43rd place. ... Gordon Beckham started his second straight game at second base for the White Sox after missing five straight with a wrist ligament injury. ... The Royals send left-hander Jeff Chen (4-0, 1.97 ERA) against White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago (3-6, 3.38 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.