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Floro proving clutch as Reds' long reliever

Schebler back in leadoff spot; Gennett gets a little NASCAR experience
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The adrenaline of pitching three scoreless innings and earning the win in Thursday's 7-5 Reds victory over the Rockies in 13 innings hadn't entirely worn off yet for reliever Dylan Floro. When you're the long man in the bullpen, getting high-leverage opportunities don't exactly come every day.

"It's unbelievable," Floro said on Friday afternoon. "Any time you can get a chance to do something like that and then come out on top with a 'W.' Those games get hard and long when you're going extra innings. Every out matters and every hit. It's a grind."

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CINCINNATI -- The adrenaline of pitching three scoreless innings and earning the win in Thursday's 7-5 Reds victory over the Rockies in 13 innings hadn't entirely worn off yet for reliever Dylan Floro. When you're the long man in the bullpen, getting high-leverage opportunities don't exactly come every day.

"It's unbelievable," Floro said on Friday afternoon. "Any time you can get a chance to do something like that and then come out on top with a 'W.' Those games get hard and long when you're going extra innings. Every out matters and every hit. It's a grind."

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Floro replaced Raisel Iglesias to begin the top of the 10th and gave up three singles and a walk on the night. He also induced a key double play off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez in the 12th inning.

With the Reds out of position players after the 10th inning, Floro batted for himself in the 12th and grounded out. It was also a sure sign he would be pitching for a while.

"At least I made contact this time. I'm making a little bit of progress there," said Floro, who is 0-for-7 as a hitter with four strikeouts. "I knew I was going to go at least two or three, or however long it took to win a game. Our bullpen was getting short."

Video: CIN@STL: Floro rings up Molina looking in the 5th

Floro, 27, is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 17 games and 26 innings pitched. He was in the big leagues with the Rays in 2016 and Cubs in '17 before signing a Minor League contract with the Reds in the offseason with an invitation to Spring Training. He nearly made the team out of camp, then was summoned from Triple-A Louisville on April 13.

"He really has done a good job. He's been a really great find by our front office to get him in camp this spring," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "Regardless of how we've used him, he's been composed. You'd never know he's here walking around the clubhouse. He doesn't say anything. He's been both durable and effective. Sometimes it's hard to find that combination."

The three innings on Thursday tied Floro's career high; he also pitched three innings April 20 at St. Louis. He pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings on May 19 vs. the Cubs to get his first Major League win.

"It's been good. I can't complain," Floro said. "I'm getting chances and opportunities in big situations. The last couple of times, I felt like I've taken advantage of them."

Riggleman trying Schebler at leadoff spot

For the second game in a row, and only the third time overall, Riggleman batted right fielder Scott Schebler, one of Cincinnati's hottest hitters, in the leadoff spot Friday. Jesse Winker has batted leadoff most for the Reds this season, but he hit sixth.

The decision was rewarded in the Reds' 7-6 loss in 10 innings to St. Louis. Schebler had a career-high four hits and Winker added two hits, including the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.

Video: STL@CIN: Winker rips a game-tying RBI single in 9th

"I'm just going to see if we can roll with this a little bit," Riggleman said before the game. "Wink has come off of the bench and got a hit with runner in scoring position often enough that I'm thinking 'you know what? Let's put him down there in an RBI spot and see if those opportunities are there and he can drive in some runs for us.'"

Winker entered the night batting .344 (11-for-32) with 10 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season. Schebler, who was 3-for-6 while batting leadoff Thursday, entered with an eight-game hitting streak and was batting .500 (17-for-34) during that stretch. The last Reds leadoff hitter to notch four hits in one game was Jose Peraza on Sept. 7, 2016, vs. the Mets.

Gennett up to speed

On Friday at nearby Kentucky Speedway, Reds radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman underwent training to prepare for his duties as the pace car driver for NASCAR's Quaker State 400 race on July 14. Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett also got to turn some laps in a race car.

"It was a blast. I had a really good time. I consider myself a NASCAR driver now," Gennett said.

Tweet from @Reds: Now entering the winners circle, from the Cincinnati Reds... Scooter Gennett!(🎥 @sgennett2 on Instagram) pic.twitter.com/2TFHfm20jR

Gennett, who wears No. 3 because he grew up a fan of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, had to learn how to drive a stick shift for the first time.

"At first, it was a little different," he said. "But once I got into second gear, timing it up was a lot better after that."

Gennett guessed he topped out at 120-130 mph in his car. He also did a ride-along in a second seat with an experienced driver and believed speeds got to between 160-170 mph.

"It was scary fast. I don't know if I'll do that again, but I'd love to drive again," Gennett said.

"He did well," Brennaman said.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Dylan Floro, Scooter Gennett