John Maine spent the better part of three years on the comeback trail to the major leagues with one number on his mind: five.

That’s the number of pitches Maine threw in his last big-league outing for the Mets on May 20, 2010. Monday, Maine pitched the ninth inning for the Marlins and gave up a pair of hits but got out of the jam without giving up any runs — a victory for at least one Marlin on a night when a lot didn’t go right.

“It wasn’t pretty, but I got through it. I needed to get the first one out of the way regardless,” said Maine, who said he had not faced a hitter in 12 days dating to spring training before Monday.

“My last outing was five pitches [with the Mets], and I wanted to do better than that. That was one of the motivating things for me the last two years. I didn’t want to end [my career] on that.”

Maine was competing for a spot in the starting rotation until the final two weeks of camp. As much as he would like to be in the rotation, he wasn’t surprised or upset the Marlins didn’t call on him when they had two starters go on the disabled list just before the start of the season. He said he would not have had enough time to stretch his arm out. He’s just happy he’s getting a chance to work out of the bullpen. Monday, he became the last Marlins reliever to enter a game this season.

“For a guy who hadn’t thrown in a few days, he did really well,” manager Mike Redmond said. “Now we’ve got everybody in the bullpen into a game. That’s a good sign; hopefully, it’s a sign guys are settling in and starting to relax.”