Hernández doubled in his first at-bat and scored on Jarred Kelenic’s soft single. Hernández followed in the fourth inning with his fourth homer of the season to center field off St. Louis starter Steven Matz.
And he reached base during Seattle’s three-run sixth inning despite striking out.
Hernández whiffed at Drew VerHagen’s breaking ball in the dirt, but the wild pitch eluded catcher Willson Contreras and allowed Hernández to reach, loading the bases after Julio Rodríguez and Eugenio Suarez walked earlier in the inning.
“I saw the ball going away. I was really mad, though, that I strike out, but I changed right away, put my head down and ran hard to first,” Hernandez said.
AJ Pollock followed with a double to right-center field to score a pair, and Kelenic’s sacrifice fly scored Hernández for a 5-2 lead.
“Everyone says, ‘process, process,’ but it is good to get those results,” said Pollock, who started the night hitting .125. “You put a lot of work in, so when you get the results it does feel good and it gives kind of the weight off your shoulders a little bit, so to speak.”
The big sixth inning made a winner out of Kirby (2-1), who retired 11 straight during one stretch. Kirby allowed three hits and struck out five. The Cardinals’ only runs off Kirby came in the second inning when Nolan Arenado singled and Contreras was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Jordan Walker doubled off the wall in right, barely eluded Hernández’s glove and scored a pair.
Paul Sewald pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
“We didn’t have as many chances today. Kirby did a nice job, their (bullpen) did a nice job,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
Matz (0-3) allowed four hits, four runs and struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings.
“Other than really one bad pitch to Teoscar and those walks in the sixth inning I felt everything else was good. Unfortunately, that’s what beat us,” Matz said.
Rodríguez became the second-fastest player in MLB history with 30 career home runs and 30 career stolen bases when he swiped second base in the sixth inning. Rodríguez did it in 152 games. Only Mike Trout, in 146 games, reached the benchmarks faster.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright is expected to throw 75 pitches Tuesday for Double-A Springfield as he continues to recover from a groin injury.
Mariners: IF/OF Dylan Moore had a setback after playing in one game of his rehab assignment from an oblique injury. Moore is expected to visit a core muscle specialist in Philadelphia early next week when the team stops there on its upcoming road trip. … IF/OF Sam Haggerty has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to return Saturday.
Cardinals RHP Miles Mikolas (0-1, 8.10) has allowed nine or more hits and at least five earned runs in three of four starts. Mikolas allowed two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start against Pittsburgh. Mariners RHP Luis Castillo (2-0, 0.73) has allowed two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings pitched this season. Castillo threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball in his last start against Colorado.