At the other end Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had a fine match and made the first of several good saves when he repelled Sam Clucas's 20th-minute strike.
Defoe, who can leave for nothing following relegation, might not have been at his most potent, but still got himself into two fantastic positions before his stoppage-time goal.
Now a Swans victory over Everton this evening could see them tumble back into the relegation zone.
The Welsh side face the long trip to Sunderland next Saturday and club hero Leon Britton spearheaded the drive to get as many supporters up as possible. Luckily enough, they are playing against Sunderland who are sitting at the bottom of the Premier League table.
His performance meant Hull, following a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture, became the first Premier League team this season not to score against the Wearsiders.
City never looked back after David Silva's 50th goal for the club in the second minute although it was not until the second half that the floodgates opened with Vincent Kompany, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi all on target.
"It's not a good moment but it's a moment to be calm".
"After being relegated, players have to stand up and show some pride for the club, and today they have done that", said Moyes.
"It wasn't exclusively set on one thing, it was on two or three different things that we had to discuss".
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The Potters, who had not scored in their previous six matches away from home, broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when Bournemouth forward Lys Mousset deflected a corner into his own net.
"The manager said exactly that after the Sunderland game was over".
Marco Silva's unbeaten run of 41 league home matches as a manager (W34-D7) ends. The football, we didn't play well.
Defoe blasted another chance wide and Markovic's header was repelled by a flying Pickford before John O'Shea's fearless block denied Hernandez as a breakneck contest rattled on.
As well as feeling the tension, Hull missed chances and came up against Jordan Pickford in inspired form as the Tigers will now be hoping Swansea City lose at home to Everton in the late game on Saturday.
Hull beat Sunderland 4-0, get a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace and hold Spurs to a 2-2 draw at the KCOM.
The Black Cats will be in the Championship for the 2017/18 campaign, having already been relegated from the Premier League.
However, Slaven Bilic's side are reportedly willing to pay Defoe's £100,000-a-week pay demands, and will compliment his arrival with a move for Sunderland team-mate Pickford.