By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

ARLINGTON (CBS) Jeremy Hellickson came out before a crowd of 23, 069 in Texas and gave his ball club six great innings of work, but the Rays’ offense managed to accumulate a dismal three hits in a 2-0 loss against the Rangers Tuesday night.

Their second consecutive loss and a win for the Yankees in Boston last night places Tampa Bay at 8 1/2 games back in the AL Wild Card race. Time is not on their side, with 28 games remaining on the regular season schedule.

Both pitchers showed great poise through the first five innings, until Hellickson missed his spot on a fast ball that Josh Hamilton put into the right field seats. Michael Young came to bat next and slapped a stand-up double to put one runner on with no outs for the Rangers.

Mike Napoli and David Murphy then strung together two singles to bring in another run, which gave Texas a 2-0 lead. It could have been worse for Hellickson in the sixth, but he was able to escape the inning with minimal damage with his team down by two runs.

The Rays’ bats never came out of a slumber which resulted in their 13th shutout loss of the season.

Texas is a playoff caliber team, and it has been a never-ending battle for Tampa Bay to produce runs against quality pitching. They better figure it out soon, because five of their next eight games are against the Rangers.

The schedule won’t get any easier for the Rays. Half of their games in the month of September are against Boston and New York. The road to the playoffs won’t be easy, so lets hope this team has a plan.