Grant Balfour's impressive Major League Baseball pitching streak is over after the Australian reliever blew a save for the first time in more than a year.

The Oakland Athletics closer gave up three runs in the ninth inning on Wednesday (AEST) in Houston as the Astros beat them 5-4.

It ended Balfour's consecutive saves streak at a team-record 44, starting on April 29 last year.

Balfour, who had been the only Major League reliever not to blow a save this season, was also credited with the loss.

He gave up a single to start the ninth and then made a throwing error.

Matt Dominguez hit a home run to tie the game and Jonathan Villar doubled.

Another error with one out allowed Villar to score and give Houston the win.

Balfour made two errors and altogether gave up three hits, a walk and three runs.

It was also the first time since June 12, 2007 that the A's had lost to the Astros.

Balfour's outstanding form earnt him All-Star selection earlier this month.

He is only the second Australian to receive the honour in Major League Baseball, following David Nilsson in 1999.