Ian Henderson's goal for Rochdale was enough to seal victory over Torquay.
Torquay goalkeeper Martin Rice pulled off a fine save to push Ollie Lancashire's header over the top.
The visitors also went close after Billy Bodin's cross was met by Aaron Downes, but his header flew straight into Josh Lillis' arms.
The game was settled when Henderson dispossessed Krystian Pearce and exchanged passes with Scott Hogan before firing past Rice.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Torquay boss Alan Knill told BBC Radio Devon:
"It was a whole lot better than last week.
"We were very competitive but we just lacked that bit of quality when we needed it.
"We move the ball well, it's just we need to score - it's as simple as that. We're creating chances but we need to be more clinical.
"We were happy at half-time but we gave the ball away and it ends up in the back of our net."