Wolves substitute Kevin Cooper earned the visitors a penalty from which Carl Cort equalised, but was then sent off for a challenge on Peter Gilbert.
But it was Wanderers who snatched the points when Sturridge volleyed home in the 85th minute.
Wolves boss Dave Jones:
"When you are down to 10 men and you come away with three points it's nice.
"We are not firing on all cylinders and we know that. I don't make any excuses but sometimes there are reasons.
"It's like today, I was booed for taking off my top scorer Kenny Miller. I thought my two substitutions did well today but you don't get any credit for it."
Plymouth: Larrieu, Connolly, Coughlan, Wotton,
Gilbert (Hodges 81), Norris, Friio, Adams, Makel,
Evans (Milne 68), Keith (Crawford 56).
Subs Not Used: Lasley, Doumbe.
Goals: Friio 62.
Wolverhampton: Jones, Clyde, Lescott, Craddock, Naylor, Newton,
Ince, Olofinjana, Seol (Cooper 67), Cort,
Miller (Sturridge 67), Sturridge (Andrews 90).
Subs Not Used: Oakes, Cameron.
Sent Off: Cooper (79).
Goals: Cort 77 pen, Sturridge 85.
Ref: R Beeby (Northamptonshire).