Giampiero Ventura made a surprising tactical decision by lining the Granata up in an unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation, which clearly signalled that their main intention at the San Siro was to avoid defeat.
However, it was Torino who could have taken the lead within two minutes when an excellent Matteo Darmian interception and then through ball found Alessio Cerci, but the Italian international's shot was easily saved by Christian Abbiati.
At the other end, Jean Francois Gillet was forced into action - first to deny Sulley Muntari's long range effort, and then to save Kevin Prince Boateng's shot with his legs. But Torino were still counter attacking efficiently, and a lovely piece of skill from Cerci put Paulo Barreto through on goal with only Abbiati to beat, but somehow the former Torino keeper was able to deny the Brazilian striker.
Whilst AC Milan were not at their best, they were still creating good opportunities, and Toro were fortunate when Philippe Mexes's header deflected off Gillet's back and went narrowly wide of the post.
In the second half, Toro were continuing to frustrate the home side and also had another great chance to take the lead when Cerci once again found Barreto in space, but the former Bari striker was once again denied by Abbiati when it had seemed easier to score.
Cerci was continuing to create havoc in his more advanced position, and he gave Valerio Di Cesare a chance to become an unlikely goalscorer, but the former Chelsea defender drilled his shot wide of the post.
However, with six minutes left the Rossoneri did take the lead when Antonio Nocerino's floating cross found Mexes, and the Frenchman unselfishly headed the ball across goal to give Mario Balotelli a tap in.
That goal was enough to push Milan closer to Champions League qualification, and inflict a fourth consecutive defeat on Torino - although like the three previous matches, a draw would not have been an unjust result. The Granata must now re-group ahead of two winnable fixtures in the next seven days (Genoa at Home and Chievo Away) and they will know that four points from these two matches should be enough to secure their Serie A status for another season.