Manager Ned Yost put it this way about Holland: "As soon as we get the last out in the eighth inning and we've got the lead, I relax."
Holland finished the season with 47 saves, a new franchise record that surpassed the 45 by Dan Quisenberry in 1983 and Jeff Montgomery in 1993.
Yost admitted that he counts the outs until he can wave for his closer.
"Absolutely. I'm counting outs to get me to Holly, and however I've got to get those outs -- if it's one out here, two outs there -- whatever it takes," he said.
Holland joins Joakim Soria as the only Royals pitchers ever to win the award since its inception in 2005. Soria won in September 2008 and September 2009. Holland is also just the fifth pitcher to win the award multiple times in one season and the second this year, joining the Pirates' Jason Grilli in April and May.
Holland's 1.21 ERA was the lowest in Royals history for a pitcher with at least 60 innings in a season. His 103 strikeouts tied Jim York's team record for a reliever set in 1971, and Holland did it in 26 1/3 fewer innings.
He matched York's record on the season's final day with two strikeouts in the ninth inning and the bases full of White Sox runners.
"I was hoping for a ground-ball double play, to be honest with you," he said. "But it's been a good season for me."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.