Getty Images

Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler struck out 14 batters over seven innings on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, yet Philadelphia still came up short in a 5-3 loss.

Wheeler allowed three runs on four hits and two walks over the course of the game. Two of those runs scored on a first-inning home run from Austin Meadows. Ji-Man Choi later plated the other on a single. In between, Wheeler retired 11 batters in a row, including seven via strikeout. 

Wheeler averaged 97 mph with his fastball and induced 18 whiffs on 48 swings. All five of his pitches, as classified by Statcast, generated at least a pair of swinging strikes, with his curveball and slider combining for nine. 

Wheeler's 14 strikeouts are tied for the second most in the majors this season, behind the 15 Jacob deGrom struck out against the Washington Nationals in April. (DeGrom is also responsible for two of the five 14-K efforts.) Additionally, Wheeler set a new career-high for himself. He had previously recorded 12 strikeouts on two occasions: once in 2013, and then his last time out against the Boston Red Sox.

Wheeler entered Saturday having posted a 2.38 ERA (162 ERA+) and a 5.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 10 starts this season. Both his strikeout rate (29.7 percent) and his walk rate (5.3 percent) represented new career bests.

Despite Wheeler's best efforts, the Phillies still couldn't pull off the win. Relievers Sam Coonrod and José Alvarado permitted a total of two hits, two walks, and two runs in 2/3rds of an inning in the eighth. (Archie Bradley notched the final out.) The Phillies offense, meanwhile, was unable to mount an attack on the Rays' bullpen. Matt Joyce hit a game-tying home run against Jeffrey Springs, but the Phillies were otherwise shut out for 4 2/3 innings. 

The Phillies will attempt to split the brief two-game series with the Rays on Sunday. The probables are Zach Eflin and Luis Patino.