Alan Richardson will rue a poor first half and some costly missed opportunities in the dying minutes following the Anzac Day clash.
Farren Ray and Jack Billings both missed late chances which would have put the Saints ahead for the first time.
Leigh Montagna's 37-disposal performance was instrumental in the comeback after St Kilda trailed by as much as five goals late in the second quarter. The Saints ball-winner had 21 kicks, eight tackles, six clearances and booted two goals in a performance that was adjudged as best-on-ground worthy post-game.
Montagna's influence was considerable at either end of the park, and he finished with five rebound 50s and six inside 50s to further underline his domination.
Yet it was ultimately not enough - St Kilda leaving itself too steep of a hill to climb in conditions hardly conducive to free-flowing, fast-scoring football.
For the majority of the first three terms, St Kilda was well below its best. Not only were the Saints midfielders aside from Montagna and Hayes not finding the footy, but when they did, they weren't giving Nick Riewoldt or Rhys Stanley (one goal each) any decent chances to hit the scoreboard.
Despite the 25-point deficit at half-time, there was always a sense that Alan Richardson's men would rebound at some stage. Unfortunately from a Saints perspective, this rearguard action came too late and proved insufficient, if only just. .
Eli Templeton's influence was short-lived, with the young forward subbed in the first term with a suspected broken arm. He was replaced by Shane Savage, who provided much-needed run and pressure for the remainder of the contest but conceded a 50 metre penalty in the dying minutes which consigned the Saints to their third defeat of the season.
STK: 11.13 (79)
BRIS: 12.10 (82)
Montagna, Hayes, Geary, Dempster, Steven, Curren
Montagna 2, Jones 2, Dunstan, Riewoldt, Stanley, Saunders, Dempster, Curren, Billings