The former Newcastle United striker enjoyed his return to his native North East after grabbing a trademark goal in the ninth minute, rising high at the far post to head in powerfully from a left-wing corner.
Carroll then set up West Ham's second goal five minutes after halftime when he chested the ball down for Mohamed Diame and his deflected shot from 18 metres beat goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Gus Poyet's Sunderland perked up with the introduction of Adam Johnson and the substitute gave them hope when he curled a delightful left-foot shot into the top corner of the net with 25 minutes to go.
West Ham, though, held on for a victory that left them 11th in the Premier League with 37 points and effectively banished all fears of relegation for Sam Allardyce's men.
Sunderland remained second from bottom on 25 points, four points from safety with eight matches left to play this season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Nolan