Third baseman Chase Headley fielded the bunt, and threw to first to get Hicks, who was ruled out by first-base umpire Mark Wegner.
Gardenhire challenged the play but after a review, the call on the field was confirmed by replay.
"I had nothing to lose," Gardenhire said. "It looked like he came up early and was probably still on the [base] but the ball went to the top of his glove, so you just take a chance. There's nothing to lose there in the seventh by not challenging it."
Gardenhire has challenged eight plays this year with four calls getting overturned.
Escobar came around to score on a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Josmil Pinto to give the Twins a 4-3 lead.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.