They failed to do so Wednesday night in New York's 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
"That's exactly why we're sitting where we are," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "With guys in scoring position where we've got to put the ball in play, we've got to go up there, we got to get ready to hit, we can't be late getting our feet down, we've got to get in there being ready to hit, we've got to hunt something and we can't miss it."
The Mets were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position after a 2 for 12 performance the night before.
It gets worse: Over the last three games, New York is an abysmal 4 for 37 (.108) in that situation and is hitting only .225 on the season with runners on at least second base.
Lincecum struck out 12 to surpass Christy Mathewson for most double-digit strikeout games in Giants history and Pat Burrell hit a tiebreaking single against his favorite opponent.
Lincecum (3-3) gave up five hits in seven innings, throwing 127 pitches for his most this season. He struck out his final five batters.
Four Giants relievers completed the six-hitter. Brian Wilson worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save.
Mike Fontenot added an insurance run with an RBI single off Chris Capuano (2-3) in the seventh and Aubrey Huff had three more hits to lift his average over .200. The defending World Series champions won two in a row for the first time since April 18-19 and have won just five of their last 13 games.
Capuano gave up eight hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.
"It was kind of frustrating. Going up against Lincecum , you know runs are going to be at a premium," Capuano said. "Again, I just feel I could've done a better job against those lefties, and kept them off base. Us pitchers, I guess we're always greedy, and I would have like to have held them to nothing tonight."
The Mets struck out a season-high 16 times in a nine-inning game. New York faced a Cy Young winner for the third time in four games, going up against Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee last weekend in Philadelphia. Lincecum was the most dominant.
The Freak needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning, yielding a one-out double to Daniel Murphy. But he didn't allow a runner to reach third until the sixth.
Freddy Sanchez made the catch on the warning track beyond the Mets dugout and then bounced up to make a perfect throw home that held Beltran at third.
"That was great by him even to keep the guy form scoring, getting the ball in quick like that," Lincecum said.
Lincecum then struck out two to end the inning and struck out the side in the seventh.
After receiving one run of support in his last two outings — both losses — the Giants were scoreless until Burrell's RBI single.
Burrell has always hit well against New York, especially when with Philadelphia. He has 42 homers and 106 RBIs against the Mets, best off any opponent.
This time he hurt to the Mets with a simple single. Fontenot led off with a walk and Huff followed a strikeout with his third hit of the game and fourth in four at-bats. His homer in the 10th Tuesday lifted the Giants to a win.
Burrell singled for the lead. Capuano intentionally walked Miguel Tejada with two outs to load the bases. But Lincecum bounced back to the mound to end the threat.
NOTES: The Mets placed RHP Pedro Beato on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his pitching elbow. Lefty Mike O'Connor was brought up from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place in the bullpen. ... Giants OF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles') is going to Triple-A Fresno to play in an unknown number of rehab games, manager Bruce Bochy said. ... Mets SS Jose Reyes grounded out leading off in the first to snap a streak of reaching in seven straight plate appearances.