It was Juan Pierre’s pinch-hit single off Mets ace Matt Harvey that sparked the Marlins in Thursday’s victory. Pierre feels that he can still contribute.
He also knows this season could be his last in the majors.
“It’s a strong possibility,” said Pierre, a veteran of 14 seasons whose playing time has diminished to a trickle with the emergence of rookie outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick.
Pierre, who turns 36 on Aug. 14, doesn’t intend to retire when his contract expires after the season. Not voluntarily. He’ll throw his name into the free agent ring. But he also knows that teams might not come calling for him over the winter.
Pierre started only three games for the Marlins in July, and not at all since July 14.
Pierre thought his playing days might be finished in 2011 when his phone didn’t ring until the end of January — two weeks before the start of spring training — and the Phillies gave him a contract. Pierre parlayed that opportunity into a bit of a rebirth season in which he hit .307 and stole 37 bases. The rebuilding Marlins then brought back one of the cornerstones of their 2003 World Series team for another hurrah, one that could be his last.
“I’m not going to cry once I’m done playing,” Pierre said. “They can come and take away my jersey right now, and I’ll be fine. I’ll be OK with it either way. Looking back, I would have never thought I’d play one day in the big leagues, let alone 13 years. So I’m grateful for all the time I did it.”
Starters are hot
Even though Tom Koehler’s outing Thursday wasn’t a thing of beauty (he walked five and gave up five hits in six scoreless innings), it represented one more strong performance by a member of the Marlins’ rotation. Marlins starters have now give up three or fewer runs in 35 of their past 40 games.
Koehler and the Marlins’ bullpen — A.J. Ramos and Steve Cishek — also kept the ball in the park. The Marlins haven’t given up a home run since July 23 in Colorado — a stretch of nine games.
The starting staff posted the best July ERA — 3.24 — in team history. The previous mark for July was 3.37 by the 2003 staff.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (7-5, 2.71 ERA) vs. Cleveland Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-5, 4.17), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (3-3, 2.65) vs. Indians RHP Zach McAllister (4-6, 3.48), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Indians ride into South Florida on an eight-game winning streak. This marks Cleveland’s third regular-season visit to Miami. The Indians also faced the Marlins here in the 1997 World Series.