ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Who needs a starting pitcher when your bullpen is good enough to throw nine shutout innings?
The Los Angeles Angels used eight pitchers in their 2-0 victory over the Oakland A's on Saturday night at Angel Stadium, none of whom had started a game in the majors this season.
The actual "starting" duties Saturday went to Cory Rasmus, who had not started a game since 2011 when he was in Class A ball. He was starting in the spot vacated by injured Garrett Richards, who suffered a torn patellar tendon Aug. 20.
Rasmus gave up one hit in three innings and was followed in order by Michael Roth, Yoslan Herrera (1-1), Fernando Salas, Jason Grilli, Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith and Huston Street (11th save), who combined to blank the A's for the final six innings on two hits.
In fact, after Roth walked catcher Derek Norris with one out in the fourth inning, no A's batter reached base until right fielder Sam Fuld led off the ninth with a single.
"Our bullpen has evolved from a question mark to an exclamation point," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As we've acquired Huston Street and Jason Grilli ... we've seen that depth mount to where we can continue to have good arms that can come out and shorten games and be fresh on a given day to hold leads. But it starts with talent; these guys are good."
Angels pitching has now shut out the A's for 22 consecutive innings. The last time the A's scored came in the sixth inning of the series opener on Thursday.
"We're pressing offensively, obviously," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Guys want to be the guy that gets us out of this thing. We're team oriented, we're good at passing the baton and moving on. But each and every guy wants to be the guy, and get big hits for us. It's not happening right now."
The Angels offense didn't do much against A's starter Jeff Samardzija (4-4), who gave up just one earned run and four hits in eight innings, striking out nine and walking none.
"(Samardzija) couldn't pitch any better than he did today," Melvin said. "He's throwing 100 mph in the 8th, had a great split, as good a slider as we've seen from him all year."
Shortstop Erick Aybar had two of the Angels' hits, including an RBI single in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.
The Angels scored a second run in the fourth on a wild pitch.
The victory moved the Angels (82-53) a season-high four games ahead of Oakland (78-57) in the American League West with a chance to complete a four-game sweep Sunday.
Rasmus was sharp from the start, giving up only an infield single by third baseman Josh Donaldson with two outs in the first in his three innings. And starting with a strikeout of first baseman Brandon Moss to end the first, Rasmus struck out five A's hitters in a row, including striking out the side in the second inning.
Having made 49 pitches -- Rasmus' season high is 51 pitches -- Rasmus was finished, giving way to Roth to start the fourth.
The A's had their best chance to score in the inning, as two walks issued by Roth, an infield single by Donaldson and an error by catcher Hank Conger helped the A's load the bases with one out.
Melvin sent up Jonny Gomes to pinch hit for the left-handed hitting Josh Reddick with the lefty Roth on the mound. But Scioscia countered by bringing in right-hander Yoslan Herrera, who induced a double-play ball from Gomes to escape.
Samardzija held the Angels scoreless through three innings before they rallied in the fourth. After a single by first baseman Albert Pujols and an error by shortstop Eric Sogard, Aybar drove in Pujols with a single for a 1-0 Angels lead.
Second baseman Howie Kendrick, who reached on Sogard's error, scored the second run of the inning on a wild pitch by Samardzija.
That was enough offense for the Angels relievers, who shut it down the rest of the way.
"That is unbelievable, that is impressive," Conger of the bullpen.
NOTES: A's CF Coco Crisp was feeling "stiff" Saturday, one day after his run-in with the center-field wall at Angel Stadium. Crisp, who nearly made a spectacular catch to rob Angels C Chris Iannetta of a home run, had to leave the game and was later diagnosed with a strained neck. He was not in the starting lineup and is listed as day-to-day. ... Angels LHP Michael Roth was called up from Double-A Arkansas to give the team some bullpen depth. Roth was 11-7 with a 2.62 ERA in 22 starts for the Travelers. 1B Efren Navarro was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room on the roster. ... Angels SS Erick Aybar had two hits Saturday, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, matching a career best, and the longest streak by an Angel this season. He is hitting .464 (26-for-56) during the streak.