Steven Fletcher fired Sunderland to their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season with his fifth goal in four games.
The 25-year-old turned James McClean's 51st-minute cross-shot past keeper Ali Al Habsi to win a match of little quality.
Wigan were made to pay for a rush of blood from Jordi Gomez, who was sent off just two minutes into the second half for a dangerous lunge at defender Danny Rose and a game in which his side had enjoyed the better of the opening 45 minutes turned on its head.
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