Sunderland moved closer to Premier League safety despite suffering three injury blows.Stretchered off were Phil Bardsley in the first half and Asamoah Gyan in the second half, with Danny Welbeck limping off the pitch.
The latest injuries will be dealt with by manager Steve Bruce in the next few days.
All Sunderland fans were thinking about at the final whistle was celebrating a first victory in 10 games and a win which takes them back into the top half of the table.
A goal-less first-half which offered little in the way of chances gave no indication of the six-goal thriller which was to come.
Wigan took the lead in the 52nd minute with a fine individual goal from Mohamed Diame who turned Michael Turner and drilled a rising 25-yard shot past keeper Simon Mignolet.
A vocal crowd went silent but they were roaring again just three minutes later when the Black Cats equalised.
Steed Malbranque sent in an inswinging cross from the right and Asamoah Gyan rose eight yards out to head back across keeper Ali Al Habsi, just inside the post.
Sunderland took the lead for the first time in the 68th minute when Jordan Henderson took advantage of a pass from Sulley Muntari to smash a left-foot shot high into the Wigan net from close range.
Stephane Sessegnon was then fouled in the box five minutes later but got up to stroke a penalty home for Sunderland’s third.
The Black Cats’ fourth, five minutes later, arrived when Sessegnon squared from the left and Henderson stabbed home his second.
Wigan scored a late consolation goal by Franco Di Santo in the 88th minute.
But there was no stopping Sunderland from deservedly gaining a decisive victory on a day which is sure to transform the mood on Wearside.