Premier League - Torres scores in Chelsea win
Frank Lampard struck against his former club just before half-time to give Chelsea the lead. Torres then came off the bench 14 minutes from time to open his Chelsea account almost three months after making his £50 million move from Liverpool on transfer deadline day. Florent Malouda then hit the top corner with an injury-time strike.
The result puts Chelsea six points behind leaders Manchester United with four games remaining, while West Ham remain bottom of the table after they failed to capitalise on Wigan's defeat and Wolves drawing with Fulham.
The champions could have been ahead as early as the third minute in rain-soaked West London when Didier Drogba backheel released Florent Malouda one-on-one with Robert Green, but the Frenchman fired straight at the keeper.
Depsite dominating the possession and dictating the tempo, West Ham often posed a threat when they could launch attacks on the counter. Demba Ba stung the palms of Petr Cech with a strike from range, while the impressive Freddie Sears's cross was met by a diving header from Jonathan SPector that the Chelsea keeper did well to save.
Sears then had a chance to score himself when he was unmarked at a corner, but his flick on target was right at Cech.
Chelsea finally made the breakthrough in the 44th minute when Drogba's incisive through ball found Ashley Cole at the byline, and the left-back pulled his pass back for England colleague Lampard to rifle his first-time strike past Green.
The same pattern continued after the break, with Chelsea spurning a succession of chances as they risked being pegged back by a Hammers side not lacking in spirit despite the absence of talismanic captain Scott Parker.
A frantic spell around the 70-minute mark saw David Luiz hit the bar with a strike from range, Cech parry a shot from Ba and save from substitute Robbie Keane before Carlton Cole hesitated for too long inside the Chelsea box as he tried to shoot on the turn.
The outstanding Drogba had a header from a corner cleared off the line, and that proved to be his final act of the game. On came Torres, who looked full of confidence, and he almost made an immediate impact when he squared a reverse pass to fellow substitute Nicolas Anelka, whose shot was headed away by Danny Gabbidon.
Then, 903 minutes of playing time for club and country since his last goal - his second in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Molineux on January 22 - Torres get off the mark for his new club. Anelka slipped a through ball into his path and, after the ball slowed to a halt in one of the many puddles formed by the torrential downpour, Torres instinctively swivelled and fired past Green on the turn to send Stamford Bridge into raptures.
Malouda scored the pick of the goals in stoppage time with a rasping strike from the edge of the box, but that goal will be all but forgotten, overshadowed as it was by Chelsea's record signing finally getting off the mark.