For the second time this spring, David Buchanan sprung into action and took the mound in place of Jerome Williams on short notice. Williams tweaked a hamstring on Sunday.
But Buchanan looked more than prepared for the unscheduled St. Patrick's Day start on Tuesday afternoon.
Buchanan reeled off three straight perfect innings to begin a game that ended with the Phillies dropping a 5-3 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I felt good," said Buchanan, who struck out 6 of the first 9 batters he faced. "I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes, I think that's what helped me out the most. ... I think in the second inning I was better about getting ahead strike one. But being behind 1-0 is what I'm trying to avoid, because over the course of the game if you keep doing that your pitch count is going to escalate, which you don't want."
Buchanan retired 10 straight before giving up back-to-back hits in the fourth inning. The latter scored the game's first run when Ben Revere's throw from center field arrived a tad late to the plate.
Buchanan allowed one run on two hits while striking out six. He didn't walk a batter.
With Cliff Lee set to start the season on the 60-day DL, Buchanan is a lock for a rotation spot, along with Opening Day starter Cole Hamels, Williams and Aaron Harang. Harang is set to make his second start of the spring on Thursday night in Tampa.
Logan Forsythe led the Rays effort with two home runs, the first off righthander Phillippe Aumont in the fifth inning and the second off lefthander Elvis Araujo in the seventh.
The Phillies finished the game with five hits. Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera had two of them, finishing the day 2-for-4.