Although the home clubhouse was relatively quiet, it wasn’t somber Friday night. On orders from their manager, the Astros didn’t hang their heads after another gut-wrenching loss to the Tigers.

Not long after Jose Veras failed to close out the game, Astros manager Bo Porter addressed his team and urged them to hold their heads up.

The record will show that Alex Avila’s two-run home run in the ninth inning off Veras gave the defending American League champions a 4-3 victory, but the young Astros found reason for optimism.

“This is the defending American League champion,” Porter said. “One play here and one play there and both of these nights we’re going home victorious and 2-0 against the American League champion. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. They made plays.

“But it’s like I just told our group in the room in there: ‘Don’t hang your head.’ We’ve played good baseball. We’ve had some misfortune along the way. But at the same way we’ve had misfortune, the tide’s going to change and a lot of these plays are going to start to go our way and we’re going to hit our stretch of winning these types of ballgames.”

Tigers manager Jim Leyland also had plenty of praise for Bud Norris and the Astros, who have now lost four in a row.

“That team,” Leyland said, “is playing their (butts) off.”

One night after the Tigers opened the four-game series by tying the score with an unearned run in the eighth and eventually winning in 14 innings, Veras issued a leadoff walk to Don Kelly in the ninth. One out later, Avila drilled a two-run home run to right-center field to put the Tigers ahead for good before a crowd of 16,719.

Norris, who held the Tigers to five hits and two runs with three walks and seven strikeouts over seven strong innings, was in line for the victory before Veras blew the save.