Premiership: Sale Sharks 3-21 Exeter Chiefs
|Sale (3) 3|
|Exeter (21) 21|
|Tries: Penalty try, Short, Chudley Cons: Steenson 3|
Exeter scored three first-half tries as they eased to a third consecutive Premiership victory against Sale.
A driving maul led to a penalty try for the visitors, resulting in Sharks captain Josh Beaumont being sin-binned.
AJ MacGinty kicked the hosts' only points, while James Short crossed after a line-out for Exeter before Will Chudley finished off a patient attack.
The second half was scrappy and saw no more points added, but the win puts last year's runners-up into fourth.
Sale have now lost four of their past six Premiership games at home, with only one win in five in the Premiership.
Their sole score actually came while they were down to 14 men, as they lacked fluidity and imagination.
Rob Baxter's side could not maintain their level after the break, missing the chance to earn a bonus point for the third game running, which would have put them level in the table with Bath.
Exeter flanker Don Armand impressed in his first game since September, while Italy international Michele Campagnaro came on for his first league appearance of the campaign.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond told BBC Radio Manchester:
"We're disappointed; the team's not playing well and there's not much confidence in them - we'll have a change in mindset over the weekend.
"Maybe I've got it wrong, being a bit naive picking too many youngsters in the team, but we need to wise up.
"From going from a team that's finished fifth and sixth over the last five years, to looking like we could be in a relegation battle - we need to pull our finger out."
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:
"I'm hugely satisfied - we've had some tough results based on some decent performances, but tonight it feels that a good performance gave us the rewards.
"It was a very good performance based around the players working extremely hard to do some key things we identified during the week.
"I don't think people appreciate enough how hard we worked tonight - I thought the boys were exceptional in their work rate, and that underpins everything."
Sale: Haley; Arscott, James, Leota, Charnley; MacGinty, Phillips; Harrison, Webber, Mujati, Evans, Beaumont (capt), Neild, B Curry, Ioane.
Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Aulika, Mills, Seymour, Stringer, Tuitupou, Odogwu.
Exeter: Turner; Woodburn, Devoto, Hill, Short; Steenson (capt), Chudley; Rimmer, Yeandle, Holmes, Lees, Parling, Armand, Horstmann, Waldrom.
Replacements: Malton, Moon, Williams, Hill, Ewers, Maunder, Simmonds, Campagnaro.