Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was convinced he made a shrewd investment by signing Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million contract extension. It took the left-hander one day to return his first dividend.
Romero pitched seven solid innings Sunday in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed six hits and struck out four, the only run coming off Mike Napoli's fifth-inning homer.
"It's been an unbelievable weekend, something that everyone dreams of," said Romero, who was born in Los Angeles and recently bought his parents a home in nearby Downey.
"I feel very very blessed. It's definitely very special getting a win here in Anaheim in front of my parents. That's just the icing on the cake."
The contract, which includes a $1.25 million signing bonus, runs from 2011-15. It covers Romero's three arbitration seasons and one year of free agency.
Romero will be paid $750,000 next season, $5 million in 2012 and $7.5 million in each of the next three years. There also is a $13.1 million club option for 2016, and a $600,000 buyout. He is the first player on the roster with a contract guaranteed through 2015.
And it's just his second season in the big leagues.
"Romero deserves that contract. He's thrown the ball terrific this year," losing pitcher Dan Haren said. "He's a young star, and I'm sure he'll live up to the expectations."
Plenty of pitchers in recent years have struggled after signing big deals, most noticeably Barry Zito, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton. Romero (10-7) doesn't expect to fall into that trap, nor does he believe this contract automatically puts him in an elite category where he's expected to win 20 games every year.
"I just consider myself a major league pitcher," said Romero, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft and the first pitcher selected that year. "I'm not trying to put a label on myself. That's not me. It's already a blessing for me to be able to put on a big league uniform. I'm a humble guy, so I think this is only going to make me more humble."
"It's frustrating. We haven't been getting a lot of timely hits," cleanup man Torii Hunter said. "Sometimes we hit the ball hard and it's right at guys. That's what baseball is all about — luck — and we haven't had any in a long time."
Haren (1-3) gave up four runs and nine hits over seven innings and struck out five in his fifth start with Angels. The three-time All-Star, who averaged 14.6 victories over the previous five seasons, is 1-7 in his last 12 outings overall.
"I've thrown the ball OK, but I don't think I've shown my capabilities," Haren said. "Today I kept the team in the game for the most part, but I expect more out of myself."
Lind's 19th homer came in his first career at-bat against Haren, who has given up 27 in 26 starts this year. He surrendered 27 home runs in 33 starts last year.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but all they could get out of it was one run. Aaron Hill drove in Yunel Escobar with a double off the fence in left-center, but Jose Bautista had to wait to see if Peter Bourjos could catch the ball and only got as far as third. Haren then retired Lyle Overbay on a popup and Edwin Encarnacion on a flyball.
"Batista would be the first one to tell you that he didn't run the bases in the right fashion," manager Cito Gaston said. "If he goes halfway on that ball, we score another run. When you win, you can overlook those things. When you lose, you may dwell on it for a long time."
Toronto loaded the bases again in the sixth, this time with one out, and managed to scratch out two runs on an RBI fielder's choice grounder by Hill and a sacrifice fly by Overbay.
"I backed myself into a few corners with a couple of bases-loaded jams, and I kind of minimized damage," Haren said. "But they had enough runners on base to push across a couple of runs. And with a pitcher like that on the mound for them, they made it hold up."
NOTES: Romero helped Cal State Fullerton win an NCAA title in 2004. ... Bautista, who leads the majors with 36 home runs, failed to hit one during the three-game series after homering at least once in a franchise-record 11 consecutive series. ... The Blue Jays left the bases loaded in the ninth after three walks by rookie RHP Michael Kohn. ... Gregg is one of three former Angels pitchers closing regularly for other teams, along with Francisco Rodriguez (Mets) and Bobby Jenks (White Sox). ... Napoli's 19th homer put him within one of last season's total. His 75 home runs as a catcher are an Angels club record. ... Toronto's J.P. Arencibia, who on Aug. 7 against Tampa Bay became the first major leaguer since 1900 to get two homers and four hits in his debut, made his fourth start behind the plate and was 0 for 4.
(This version CORRECTS corrects the contract extension to $30.1 million in the first paragraph.)