The Yorkshiremen's early dominance was based on an aggressive pack, obstinate defending and a commendable work-rate, culminating in a converted try from prop Tommy McGee and a penalty from full-back Leigh Hinton.
But Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson converted the first of Lee Thomas's two tries on the stroke of half-time to add to two earlier penalties and give the Sharks a 13-10 interval advantage.
Thomas added his second on the hour mark and despite Tom Biggs replying for Leeds in the 65th minute, Sale hit back again when centre Chris Mayor and wing Oriol Ripol crossed the line to ensure Biggs' late second meant little.
Sale's bonus-point victory moved them menacingly into the top four, and Saint-Andre said: "Leeds started very well in the first 20 minutes and when the opposition are 10 points in front they you've got a lot to do.
"But we didn't panic, we became a bit more patient and scored four tries.
"I'm pleased with our progress overall.
"Since the World Cup finished we have had three Premiership games and we've taken 14 points, which shows we are progressing all the time."
The Frenchman also reserved special praise for Thomas, who enjoyed an excellent match and twice applied clinical finishes for his tries.
"Lee Thomas is a young guy who has improved so much," said Saint-Andre.
"He's played (at) 10 but his best position is 12. Today he was the best player on the pitch."
Saint-Andre revealed Kiwi centre Luke McAlister missed out due to a combination of Achilles and ankle injuries picked up in training.
"It's not serious," said Saint-Andre.
"He was sore in training on Thursday but he should be fine for the game against London Irish next Sunday."
The crowd of 11,116 was Leeds' biggest of the season and while their spirit and commitment cannot be faulted, they were again ultimately outclassed.
Defeat leaves them precariously placed at the foot of the Premiership and seemingly in a straight fight with Worcester to avoid the drop.
Leeds director of rugby Stuart Lancaster said: "We worked extremely hard and we did a lot of great things but the bottom line is we didn't come away with anything.
"That hurts but my philosophy is that if you work hard then you get your rewards in the long run.
"Going into any game, we firmly believed we could win this game.
"We competed well across the park and Tom Biggs again showed what a special player he is.
"We'll keep going and we will travel to Wasps on Saturday believing we can win."