Kamil Grosicki was also on the scoresheet, his first for the Club, in what turned out to be another strong second half showing from Leonid Slutsky’s side, albeit against a team a man light after Jackson Irvine was dismissed for two bookable offences before the break.
Hernandez had opened the scoring inside seven minutes before Irvine equalised for Albion ahead of his red card. After the break, there was only one team in it as wave after wave of home attacks brought three further goals – and delivered a second matchball of Hernandez’s Hull career as he completed his treble.
There were no surprises in Slutsky’s starting eleven as he named the same side that began last weekend’s draw at Aston Villa. The only change to the squad came on the bench where new signing Seb Larsson came in for Dan Batty.
Slutsky’s men had an early chance when Grosicki intercepted a loose Albion pass and raced away down the left, but instead of picking out one of three options inside the penalty area the Polish international went for goal and saw his effort well kept out by goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.
The visitors then suffered an early blow, losing full back Stephen Warnock inside six minutes, and they barely had time to reorganise before the Tigers took a seventh minute lead. Grosicki’s cross was only half-cleared for Markus Henriksen to send a 20-yard volley against the crossbar, with Hernandez the first to react to the rebound as his diving header found the net despite the best efforts of Bywater.
Sam Clucas saw a low shot from distance saved with the home side generally on top in the opening stages, although Burton did have appeals for a penalty turned down when Lucas Akins went down in the box.
More promising attacking play from the Tigers saw a Grosicki shot blocked from Fraizer Campbell’s pull-back, with Clucas firing a follow-up high over the bar, although some sloppy errors at the back were offering Burton a route back in and Akins was unlucky to see an effort ruled out for offside after Ola Aina’s mistake had been seized upon.
Allan McGregor reacted well to keep out a header from Akins before Hernandez really should have doubled the Tigers’ lead in the 25th minute, the Uruguayan forward firing across the face of goal after being set up by Campbell’s clever flick.
Worryingly, the game was now an end-to-end affair with Marvin Sordell sending an effort past the angle of post and bar while the pace of substitute Lloyd Dyer was causing problems for Aina.
Grosicki missed a golden chance after rounding goalkeeper Bywater, hitting the side-netting when the goal was open, before Burton’s Irvine was booked for a deliberate trip on Jarrod Bowen.
However, Irvine was soon on the scoresheet as he hauled his side level 12 minutes before half time. Again Lloyd got past Aina and when his cross eventually fell to Irvine, he curled a shot home from the edge of the box.
Things soon turned sour for Irvine, though, as he was shown a second yellow card for another trip on Bowen, leaving Albion a man down with seven minutes to go until the break.
Albion’s Tom Naylor was also booked before half time, punished for a handball 25 yards from his own goal. He wasn’t punished any further, with Grosicki curling the resulting free kick over the bar as the sides went in for the interval on level terms.
Having scored early in the first half, the Tigers repeated the feat in the second as they needed just five minutes to go back in front. This time, it was Aina getting the better of Dyer over on the right and when the full back checked back onto his left foot, he delivered a perfect cross for Grosicki to glance a header into the far corner of the net.
It was a goal that meant Burton, still a man light, would have to come out an attack again if they wanted anything from the game and their task got much harder four minutes later when the Tigers made it 3-1. Michael Hector’s clever ball forward towards Bowen was cut out, but it fell perfectly for Hernandez to crash home from the edge of the box for his second of the afternoon.
It was the perfect start to the second half, although Henriksen was booked for a foul on Hope Akpan soon after.
Hernandez almost completed his hat-trick when he was unselfishly set up by Grosicki just after the hour mark, but the striker was denied by Bywater.
There was no denying Hernandez when his next chance arrived on 68 minutes. Played through by Clucas at the end of a powerful surge forward, Hernandez drew Bywater off his line before slotting the ball past him and bagging the matchball. It was his final contribution before being replaced by Adama Diomande.
The changes continued with David Meyler coming on for Clucas before Larsson was handed a debut when he came on for Grosicki.
The goals almost kept coming, too, with Max Clark’s looping cross very nearly dropping in at the far post, a powerful Michael Dawson volley being blocked and a Henriksen blast from 25 yards sailing just wide.
Hector was just off target with a near-post header from Bowen’s corner with no let-up in attack from the Tigers despite the game being won, with Larsson denied a debut goal when Bywater stayed big to block the Swede’s powerful shot from ten yards.
Henriksen, along with substitutes Diomande and Meyler, also went close to adding a fifth goal late on, but in the end the Tigers had to settle for four and a good start to their home campaign.
Hull City: Allan McGregor, Ola Aina, Michael Dawson, Michael Hector, Max Clark, Jarrod Bowen, Sam Clucas (David Meyler 71), Markus Henriksen, Kamil Grosicki (Sebastian Larsson 74), Fraizer Campbell, Abel Hernandez (Adama Diomande 69).
Subs Not Used: Will Mannion, Ondrej Mazuch, James Weir, Brian Lenihan.
Burton Albion: Stephen Bywater, Lucas Akins, Kyle McFadzean, Jake Buxton, Stephen Warnock (Lloyd Dyer (6), Jackson Irvine, Tom Naylor Luke Murphy, Matt Lund, Hope Akpan (Joe Sbarra 71), Marvin Sordell (Tom Flanagan 55).
Subs Not Used: Connor Ripley, John Mousinho, Luke Varney, Matty Palmer.
Referee: Mr D. England.
Attendance: 14,822 (473 Visiting Supporters).