And for the third game in a row, Sale did not concede a try, underlining why many pundits believe they are genuine title material.
Bristol kickers Adrian Jarvis and Ed Barnes kicked penalties in each half, but Sale just about deserved the victory.
Saint-Andre said: "I am pleased with the win, but not the performance - there is still a lot of room for improvement.
"Our set piece was much better than it had been, but at times we lost possession too quickly.
"Again, we were organised in defence, and our defensive record is very good, but we have only scored one try in three games.
"We still have a lot of things to improve, but we have won two of our three games away from home and that will build our confidence.
"Bristol is not an easy place to come, and they probably deserved a draw, but while we are not playing to our maximum, we have still got 12 points."
Bristol have claimed just one losing bonus point from three matches, and they now face a key game away to pre-season relegation favourites Newcastle next Friday night.
But Bristol head coach Richard Hill was a lot happier after his side responded well to a tough week's training after a five-try thumping by Harlequins last Saturday.
Hill said: "It was a big improvement, and that sets the marker now for the rest of the season.
"The intensity in training this week was markedly different and better from what it had been, and we need to replicate that this week.
"We lacked physicality in our first two games, and we now face Newcastle away, which is a match I think we need to win.
"It is about getting that first win now."
Bristol though, suffered an injury concern when Jarvis failed to reappear for the second half after suffering a knee problem that will require further investigation.