BALTIMORE — If the Baltimore Orioles are going to compete in the American League East all year, they need to get consistent, quality starting pitching.
Although six games might not qualify as a trend, the rotation finally is starting to show signs that it is able to do its part.
Counting Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles have registered six consecutive quality starts, a huge turnaround for a rotation that earlier in the week had the fourth-worst team ERA in the AL.
In the past six starts, Baltimore starters have allowed just five earned runs in 392 / 3 innings.
This time it was right-hander Bud Norris (6-5), who allowed one run in 62 / 3 innings before the announced crowd of 33,901. Zach Britton recorded his seventh save with a scoreless ninth.
Baltimore (35-32) is within 31 / 2 games of the division-leading Blue Jays (40-30) with the finale of the four-game series to go.
“I’m real proud of the way our guys have pitched the last three days against a really good offensive team,” Baltimore Manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s what we’re going to need.”
The Orioles took the lead with a two-run fifth. With one out, Adam Jones hit a grounder to third that Juan Francisco fielded, but his poor throw bounced past first baseman Edwin Encarnacion for an error.
Two pitches later, Chris Davis smashed an R.A. Dickey knuckleball into the Orioles bullpen for his 11th home run of the season.
Baltimore scored its other run on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley.