Darwin Barney didn't enter Wednesday's game until the ninth inning, but he had a hand in the most crucial play of the contest.
With nobody out and the bases loaded, Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bounced a grounder to Starlin Castro, who flipped it to Barney at second base for one out. But Barney's throw to first sailed wide of the bag and allowed the game-tying run to score, washing away Jeff Samardzija's chance at his first win of the season. The Cubs later lost the game in the 13th.
"I feel terrible," Barney said. "I think we all feel like we had chances. [Samardzija] went seven scoreless again. He's the best pitcher in the league right now. American League, National League, Japanese League, it doesn't matter.
"He's proven that. The wins will come. I think it's just one of those funny things where some days we'll come out and put up five runs in the first two innings and it just hasn't happened for him yet.
"Baseball's a funny game. Still a month-and-a-half into the season and still a lot of time left for him to pile up some wins. We're trying hard. Maybe we're trying too hard for him."
Who knows what would have happened if Barney had just held onto the ball. The Yankees would have still had the tying run on third with only one out, so there were no guarantees for the Cubs or closer Hector Rondon.
"I thought i had to rush it a little bit," he said. "You look at it again, maybe I should have just ate it. But I was trying to make a play. I'd rather go down that way than holding it and have a chance to turn."
After being the Cubs' primary second baseman the last few seasons, Barney's playing time has taken a nosedive this year with the arrival of Emilio Bonifacio and Mike Olt (who pushes Luis Valbuena to second at times).
But Barney - who went 141 games without an error in 2012 - refused to blame his miscue on his inconsistent playing time.
"I'm not going to make an excuse right now," he said. "I was just trying to make a play and the throw got away from me a little bit."
The unearned run Wednesday was the ninth such tally in Samardzija's 10 starts this season. Four of those unearned runs have come after Samardzija has left the game.
On the season, the Cubs are just 1-9 as a team in Samardzija starts, despite his sparkling 1.46 ERA.
"I think that lies on the position players' shoulders," Barney said of the record. "With his ERA and his quality starts and his body of work, we all want [wins]. We talk about it.
"It's definitely something we want to get better at for him, obviously performing better for him. There have been unearned runs for him as well and we just haven't helped him out enough this year."