REPORT: Middlesbrough 4 Wigan Athletic 1
Latics created the opening chance, with Nathan Broadhead's shot forcing a good save from Zach Steffen, and the rebound from Thelo Aasgaard was diverted behind for a corner.
But Boro took the lead on 27 minutes, when Marcus Forss drilled home from close range.
Latics were very lucky when a header from a corner was goalbound and it was only diverted behind after hitting Aasgaard - rather than the other way round - on the way over.
At the other end, Callum Lang had a shot deflected over the top, before James McClean sent over a corner, and Charlie Hughes - making his fist league start - headed over the top.
Boro doubled their advantage four minutes after the restart, when Chuba Akpom smashed past Jamie Jones from close range.
It was so close to 3-0 Boro when Forss' shot took a massive deflection off Hughes, and looped just wide of the far post.
But goal number three arrived on the hour mark through Akpom again, and again it was far too easy.
Latics gave themselves hope two minutes later when Max Power's cross was volleyed home by Aasgaard.
But only great defending from Curtis Tilt on two occasions, and a brilliant save from Jones, prevented Boro getting a fourth goal.
And Akpom completed his hat-trick in the closing stages to put Latics out of their misery.
Latics are now two points adrift of fourth-bottom Cardiff, who have a game in hand.