There’s no secret formula, no sudden epiphany. If the Orioles are going to compete in the American League East all year, they need to get consistent, quality starting pitching.

If the last week is any indication, the Orioles’ rotation is showing signs it may do its part.

Counting Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles have registered six consecutive quality starts, a season high and a huge turnaround for a rotation that entered the week in the bottom five of the AL in starters’ ERA.

“[The starting pitching] has been at a level that, if we can stay there, will allow you to compete late in the season. Simple as that,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “That's what we're talking about. In order to accomplish what we want to get accomplished, this is the type of consistency we're going to have to have.”

On Saturday, it was right-hander Bud Norris, who delivered his second strong performance during this homestand, allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings and walking off the mound in the seventh to a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 33,901.

“First-place Toronto over there, they have a good group of guys, but we like our guys. So it was a big win,” said Norris, who is 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA this season and 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA at home. “Bullpen picked me up from there, so I was a little shaky, wasn’t great particularly early, but started to find my stride.”

The Orioles (35-32) are back within 3 ½ games of the division-leading Blue Jays (40-30) with the finale of the four-game series Sunday at Camden Yards.

“It’s simple math,” Showalter said. “They’re ahead of you, but they’re also (just) ahead of some other teams in our division. They’ve been playing real well and you can see why.”

In their past six starts, the Orioles’ rotation has allowed just five earned runs in 39 2/3 innings. It has given up two runs or fewer in 13 of its last 16 outings.

Fresh off eight shutout innings against Boston on Monday, Norris encountered only two trouble spots. He allowed a bases-loaded walk in the second inning before getting a strikeout and comebacker to wiggle out of the jam. He retired 16 of 18 batters from that point until the seventh, when the Blue Jays chased him with two consecutive singles.