PHOENIX -- The Cubs set a franchise record for road losses in a single season on Friday. They dropped to 0-17 away from home against National League West teams. None of that mattered. In the eighth inning of an 8-3 loss to the D-backs, Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney was charged with an error, his first in 141 games, and his teammates and manager felt sick about it.
"That's probably the sickest feeling that I think I've had in the game besides a couple playoff losses when you know you're going home," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's kind of the same feeling. It's, wow, you can't believe it. Some things you can't understand in this world, and in life, period.
"That one is unbelievable to happen in the [eighth] inning and a play like that," Sveum said. "It wasn't even an error -- it was an error because a guy advanced on a base hit that got away from the first baseman."
Barney was three outs away from setting the mark. The Cubs trailed 5-3 in the eighth, and Aaron Hill was on second when Justin Upton hit a grounder up the middle. Barney fielded the ball near second base and threw off-balance to first. First baseman Anthony Rizzo couldn't pick it off the dirt.
"It's one of those things, I think I should have had it," Rizzo said.
Upton was credited with a hit, but Hill scored on the error, Barney's first since April 17. He is tied with Placido Polanco, who played 141 consecutive error-free games at second base in 2007 with the Tigers.
"I knew immediately that it was an error," Barney said. "Honestly, there were no real thoughts at that particular moment going through my mind."
Did he consider holding on to the ball?
"No, I've got to make that play," Barney said. "It was 5-3 at the time. We're in that ballgame. My job is to make plays, regardless of taking risk, and I think I've done that through this whole little run. That's just how you play the game. You can't hold that ball right there."
Rizzo stood beside Barney as he met with the media postgame. The two had been sequestered in a corner of the clubhouse with a few other teammates, commiserating.
"First off, what he's done is incredible," Rizzo said of Barney. "That play up the middle -- incredible play, fearless, which he's done all year. That's the type of player Barney is. That's why everyone was so upset. For me, it could turn into a positive. Everyone's closer. I feel a lot of emotion right now."
Actually, Rizzo felt ill after the play happened and the "E" flashed on the scoreboard.
"Rizzo wanted to throw up," Barney said. "Both of us were talking about how we didn't want another ball [hit to them]."
But Barney did have to make a play when Upton stole second.
"When your head feels like it's floating around in the air and not connected to your body, that's how we both felt," Barney said. "I felt more bad for 'Riz' because I knew how bad he felt. That's not his fault at all. The ball popped up off the Arizona dirt and that's just how it goes. He was doing his job to be aggressive, and I was doing my job to be aggressive."
Sveum talked to Barney in the dugout after the inning ended. The D-backs scored three runs to secure the win for Ian Kennedy (15-11) and hand Chicago its sixth straight loss.
"It seemed like I was a lot more upset about it than [Barney] was," Sveum said.
"It had to end at some point," Barney said. "That's just how the game works. It's a funny game -- 141 games and then it happens on that game. That's why baseball is unbelievable. Whatever. It happens."
Even the D-backs felt bad.
"When I saw it, I was like 'Oh, there's the error,'" Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "One game to go, a couple outs to go. He's a good kid, he plays the game right from what I've seen of him. He shares the record though, right? That's the way it's going to have to be."
Upton hit a two-run home run and Cody Ransom added a solo shot to lead Arizona. Both blasts came off Travis Wood (6-13), who gave five runs on five hits over five innings. Sveum said he felt Wood was a little tired. The lefty has one more start in the season finale at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.
"He's still learning how to pitch," Sveum said of the 25-year-old lefty. "He's come a long way in the ability to make pitches."
The loss was the Cubs' 98th loss of the season, the most since the 1980 team finished 64-98. They must win four of their final five games to avoid a 100-loss season, the first since 1966.
But Barney losing out on a record stung more.
"It was one heck of a run," Sveum said. "He's still one of two in the history of baseball to ever do something like that. To hang his hat on that, he can be proud."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.