Sunderland took advantage of a bizarre numerical advantage to go ahead on 11 minutes when, with William Gallas off the field changing his boots, Kieran Richardson crossed for Asamoah Gyan to fire home through the legs of Michael Dawson.
Spurs struggled to get back into the game but when they did Jermain Defoe was thwarted by a block from John Mensah.
However, they would level the score a minute before half-time when Michael Dawson rose highest to meet a Steven Pienaar corner and head the ball past Craig Gordon, whose view had been obstructed by Gallas.
Gallas almost made amends for his boots blunder earlier in the game only to stab the ball straight at Gordon, but Spurs did go in front just before the hour mark when Titus Bramble’s clearing header was volleyed in by Kranjcar, who netted the winner against Bolton Wanderers last week.
Sunderland pressed forward in search of an equaliser, but the Black Cats failed to trouble Heurelho Gomes as Spurs moved above Chelsea in the table.