CHICAGO -- The only hit rookie Anthony Reyes allowed Thursday night cleared the fence.
Missing suspended manager Ozzie Guillen, the defending World Series champions won their seventh straight and finished a three-game sweep of the NL Central leaders, shut out despite the return of Albert Pujols.
"Reyes, he knows what he is doing. He made a good pitch every time," said Garcia, who knows what it's like to lose a one-hitter -- he pitched one in a 1-0 defeat last year in Minnesota. "He gave up one hit and that was a home run. That's all we needed."
Reyes, recalled from Triple-A Memphis before the game, retired his first 13 batters against a team that had 33 runs and 40 hits in the first two games of the series.
In just his fourth major league start, the 24-year-old Reyes (1-1) struck out six and walked none, throwing 90 pitches in his first career complete game.
Thome drove the first pitch he saw with one out in the seventh deep into the right-field bleachers for his AL-leading 24th homer, sending most of the sellout crowd of 39,509 into a frenzy. It was the only hit the White Sox managed all night.
Was a no-hitter on Reyes' mind?
"I never thought about it. I'm just happy that I kept the team within striking distance," Reyes said. "I was happy with what I did, but unfortunately we didn't win."
Jermaine Dye became Chicago's first baserunner in the fifth, reaching third on an error when center fielder So Taguchi couldn't catch his fly ball.
Garcia (9-4) allowed four hits in eight innings, retiring 13 straight during one stretch. But his effort was overshadowed for the first 6 1/3 innings by Reyes, who mixed pitches and changed speeds.
"Oh man, what a performance. It shows you there's no justice when he's the losing pitcher. He should have gotten a no-decision at worst," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Thome struck out and popped out in his first two at-bats before finally solving Reyes.
"I was fortunate it was in the middle of the plate," Thome said. "It's great any time you can lift a team and put a run on the board. Any run at that point you're trying to come up with and keep the game in the flow and get Freddy back out there."
For Reyes, it was one of the few pitches he didn't locate well.
"I just missed a little bit over the plate and you can't really do that up in this league," he said. "I tried to keep the ball down and I made sure if I missed that it was down. I was getting a rhythm and just kept repeating my mechanics and it just happened that one pitch got over the plate."
Bobby Jenks got his 21st save in 22 chances with a scoreless ninth.
Guillen served a one-game suspension handed down earlier in the day by the commissioner's office because Chicago reliever David Riske hit the Cardinals' Chris Duncan with a pitch after both benches had been warned Tuesday night.
In a separate penalty Thursday, Guillen was also fined by commissioner Bud Selig and ordered to attend sensitivity training for using a slur in a tirade against a Chicago sports columnist this week.
The Cardinals welcomed the return of Pujols. The star slugger came off the disabled list and played for the first time since straining a muscle on his side June 3. Pujols played first base and went 0-for-4.
"I felt great. Of course timing is going to be off," Pujols said. "Wish we could have won the game, but I was just happy to be back there."
With one out in the fifth, Dye sent a long drive to right-center that sent Taguchi running to the fence. Taguchi, playing center after Jim Edmonds was a late scratch with a mild concussion, got there in time, jumped for the ball and, as it hit his glove, he dropped it for an error as Dye went to third.
But Reyes escaped as A.J. Pierzynski lined out to shortstop and Joe Crede fouled out on a great play by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who fell over the cushioned railing near Chicago's dugout to make the catch.
Dye made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder catch of Hector Luna's long liner to right in the fifth, holding onto the ball after he hit the fence with a thud. He stayed down for several minutes but stayed in the game after a visit from acting manager Joey Cora and trainer Herm Schneider.
- The Cardinals put left-hander Mark Mulder on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder and sent Duncan to Triple-A Memphis.
- The White Sox are 8-1 this season in interleague play.
- The one hit was the fewest in a victory for the White Sox since May 21, 2000, when they beat Toronto 2-1, also with one hit.