Reporting from Chicago -- On their way to a seemingly breezy win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday, a scene from "The Natural" almost broke out, turning Wrigley Field into the Not-So-Friendly Confines for the Angels.
A severe storm moved rapidly through the North Side, bringing thunder and lightning, dousing what had been a bright, sunshiny day and throwing a cloak of darkness over the ninth inning.
The Cubs rallied from a five-run deficit, scoring four ninth-inning runs on Tyler Colvin's three-run home run against Francisco Rodriguez and Derrek Lee's solo shot against Fernando Rodney — Lee's drive coming with a sound track as it cleared the left-field bleachers.
"Right when it went over the fence I heard a thunderclap," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "I'm like, 'Hurry up and get these guys out, because they're swinging with thunder.' That was crazy. We better hurry up and get off this field."
There was no Hollywood ending for the Cubs, even though George Wendt — Norm from "Cheers" — was on hand to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
Rodney got Geovany Soto to ground out to third, and the Angels held on for a 7-6 interleague victory in their first-ever visit to Wrigley Field.
"Whew, man, that was pretty scary," said Hunter, whose solo homer in the sixth gave the Angels a 3-2 lead. "You can't go out there and relax. You saw what happened in the ninth inning. Colvin hits a homer, Lee hits a homer, and now we're closing our eyes."
With the temperature hitting 94 degrees and the wind blowing out, conditions favored the hitters. Hunter said he was just trying to hit a line drive in the sixth "and it went out," he said. "I was like, 'I like this park!' "
Howie Kendrick also capped a three-run seventh, in which the Angels took advantage of a pair of errors by third baseman Jeff Baker, with a two-run homer to right-center that gave the Angels a 6-2 lead.
But the Angels also used some solid pitching and little ball to win for the 12th time in 16 games.
Scott Kazmir gave up two runs and five hits, including Lee's solo homer in the fourth, in six innings to extend his win streak to four, a stretch in which the left-hander has posted a 2.35 earned-run average.
Catcher Jeff Mathis, playing his first game in two months, drove in a run with a two-out bunt single in the fourth. Brandon Wood's sacrifice bunt led to a Baker throwing error in the seventh, and Robb Quinlan's bunt in the eighth led to a throwing error by Lee, the Cubs first baseman, that allowed the Angels' seventh run to score.
"We did a little bit of everything today," said Mathis, who returned from a broken bone in his right wrist, an injury he suffered April 19. "It was nice to mix it all up."
The Angels nearly collapsed in the ninth, though. Rodriguez, who had an ERA of 0.87 in eight appearances, retired the side in order in the eighth but walked Ryan Theriot and pinch-hitter Chad Tracy to start the ninth.
"It looked like he lost his release point," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had a 7-2 lead and he goes walk-walk. Obviously, he was trying to be too fine."
Colvin blasted his three-run homer to right to make it 7-5, and Scioscia summoned Rodney, who got pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome and Marlon Byrd to ground out.
Left-handed closer Brian Fuentes was warming up, but with five more right-handers coming up, Scioscia stuck with the right-handed Rodney, whose fat changeup was crushed for a home run by Lee. Rodney then retired Soto for his sixth save.
"It was getting a little dark, but I think those guys saw the ball OK in the ninth inning," Scioscia said. "You have to keep playing baseball. Those guys came back, but we managed to get the last three outs."